Cameroon: Medical Council condemns recent attacks on health professionals

The Cameroon Medical Council has condemned the physical attacks on two medical practitioners recently and called on government to take…

The Cameroon Medical Council has condemned the physical attacks on two medical practitioners recently and called on government to take appropriate measures to bring the perpetrators to book.

According to a release signed by Professor Gloria Ashuntantang, the various incidents of violence were perpetrated by family members of patients who were being treated in hospital.

The reaction from the Medical Council comes after two separate incidents last week in which doctors are said to have been physically assaulted by relatives of patients.

The first incident occurred on September 21 at the COVID-19 centre situated at the Yaounde Multipurpose Sports Complex when a young medical practitioner, Dr Towa was attacked by a woman and her children until she went unconscious and was given a 45-day bed rest.

The second attack occurred just a few days later, on September 24, when the Director of the Yaounde Central Hospital, Professor Pierre Joseph Fouda was attacked within the premises of the health facility by family members of a patient, Hilaire Ayissi Mengue. The family is said to have been blaming the Yaounde Central Hospital for the death of the young man though the health facility has since refuted the claims, explaining the circumstances under which the patient was brought.

According to Dr Daniel Biwele, the medical practitioner who performed surgery on Hilaire Ayissi Mengue said the patient was admitted at the hospital on September 10 for a wound on his lower abdomen after an assault with a knife.

It was recommended the patient spends at least 48 hours in the hospital after the surgery given that the internal organs were at risk but he left the hospital 24 hours against medical advice, Dr Biwele said.

However, the patient came back four days later with severe abdominal infections and another surgery was performed on him and it was discovered that the knife had perforated his colon and faeces blocked in his abdomen which needed to be cleaned up. Another surgery was conducted 48 hours later to clean all infected tissues in order to facilitate healing but the patient later died on September 16 and his mortal remains preserved at the mortuary of the Yaounde Central Hospital.

The matter was later brought on social media on September 24 during the corpse removal as videos spread online showing family members accusing the hospital of mutilating body parts of the corpse before going on to attack some hospital staff.

The hospital has since denied the accusations and promised an autopsy to determine the real cause of the death of the 22-year Hilaire.

These incidents have force the Cameroon Medical Council to come out strong and call on the government to take appropriate measures “so that the perpetrators of such acts answer before the law and that the doctors can work in all serenity wherever they are throughout the national territory.”