Cameroon: Yaounde hospital staff strike after assault on doctor

Staff of the Efoulan District Hospital in Yaounde III subdivision, Mfoundi division of the Centre region went on strike yesterday, protesting an assault on a medical doctor at the health facility.

In the night of Sunday breaking Monday November 3 a man said to be an element of the security forces assaulted a medical doctor on duty for reportedly attending to another patient instead of his relative. The medical staff of the hospital descended to the streets, wielding placards bearing messages that condemned the attack on a health official. In a statement on Monday, Public Health Minister, Dr. Manaouda Malachie, said such attacks on health workers labouring to save lives will not be left unpunished.

The public health minister tweeted that: “I was very shocked this morning when I learned that a health care worker was assaulted while he was busy saving life. I will want to now warn its authors because I will now lodge a complaint against them”. Reports hold that on the day of the incident, a man supposedly a security officer, who came with a patient, attacked a medical doctor on duty for reportedly attending to another patient. The security officer is said to have used a knife to wound the doctor on duty while other persons watched on helplessly. The medic was said to be on night duty at the emergency ward of the hospital.

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Two patients are reported to have been brought in about the same time. The security officer, who accompanied the second patient, is said to have gone furious and assaulted the doctor for not attending to his relative first. Reports hold that the medic was admitted under intensive medical care following the incident. Yet other accounts, which we could not independently ascertain, hold that it was a quarrel over the use of a hospital bed that created the scuffle.

In the face of growing condemnation over the act, the Public Health boss did not say when and where he was going to lodge the complaint against the author of the attack to seek justice for the wounded medic. Meanwhile, the Syndicate for Cameroon National Doctors Monday in a communiqué said they would not tolerate violence on medical practitioners. “We would like to encourage fellow victims of such acts of violence as they perform their duties by denouncing them; no matter the case, assaults on staff would not be tolerated,” the communiqué read. “Legal avenues for administrative and judicial concerns exist for complaints from patients and their families. The union (SYMEC) also provides judicial support for colleagues who are victims of such acts upon request,” it added.

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