Open Letter to the Minister of Communication
Mr. Issa Tchiroma Bakary, Minister of Communication, Government Spokesperson
I am a Cameroonian surgeon practicing since the environment a decade in the hospitals of third and fourth category of our country, caring for my compatriots, always with dedication to the Man and passion for this noble profession that I chose , Despite the various inadequacies of our health system, despite the many avoidable tragedies of poverty, and under difficult conditions of work and life.
Following your press briefing on the humanitarian mission that the NGO Mercy Ships will be carrying out soon in our country, I was seized with insomnia, tormented by certain questions to which you can answer. In summary, the Africa-Mercy hospital ship will stay in Cameroon for 10 months from August 2017 to operate a maximum of 6,000 people with rare diseases and who are not treated in the same place, selected in all districts Of the country. The service in charge is complete, including transportation round trip, nutrition, operation and postoperative follow-up.
As a physician, any initiative to alleviate the human suffering caused by the disease is commendable. I am delighted for the 6,000 people who can be treated. Besides, I will send my patients there. In this sense, the invitation of the Government to Mercy Ships is to be welcomed. However, it is important to ask a few questions and make some clarifications.
When I looked at the criteria for selecting patients for this mission, I got a real slap. My professional pride took a hit. To say that in 2017 in Cameroon foreigners are invited to operate hernias, obstetric fistulas, goitres! With all the medical expertise that exists in this country! When I listened to you then, Mr. Minister, indignation and surprise took over. Cameroonians and the whole world listening to you in mondovision will say that in Cameroon doctors are not able to operate a hernia or a cataract. And yet, my colleagues and I have very advanced skills acquired here and elsewhere. I can assure you that none of the pathologies targeted by this humanitarian mission is beyond our technicality. And even the technical platform of our hospitals of the 3rd or 4th category may suffice to operate almost all of it. The real denominator of all these patients, Minister, is poverty. Indeed, they are mostly sick for years. Diagnosed, they were not able to gather the means necessary to get operated. Born malformed or deformed by an accident, they lived long reclusive and inactive, for want of means. In giving life, women have been victims of obstetric fistula which has poisoned their lives by making them unfeasible.