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North West : Secretary of State Assesses Pandemic Response

Many people continue to travel in violation of measure to do so only in absolute necessity.

The Secretary of State to the Minister of Public Health in charge of Epidemics and Pandemics, Alim Hayatou, has expressed satisfaction with the level of effectiveness of COVID-19 pandemic response in the North West Region and has spurred the population of the region to synergise in view of supporting efforts to prevent and treat the fast-spreading killer virus.
The Secretary of State was on a one-day official working visit in Bamenda and Santa on May 15, 2020 to evaluate the COVID-19 pandemic response in the region. After a guided tour to some COVID-19 structures, the Secretary of State observed that there is a gleamer of hope and a brighter horizon if the people on their part strictly adhere to prescribed hygienic and confinement measures by government and WHO. Health expert among the delegation cautioned that medics should not wait for confirmatory test, but go ahead to administer chloroquine and Azithromycin immediately to all suspected cases because equipment to support severe cases are insufficient.
The visit began in the morning with an official welcome by local administrative and health authorities led by the Governor of the North West, Adolphe Lele Lafrique, at the entry point to the region at Matazem in Santa, where the visiting health authority was acquainted with activities of the COVID-19 Screening Post. On hand were nurses screening passengers travelling into the region. Information by health workers at Matazem shows that the number of passengers entering the NW since the establishment of the screening post stands at 179,422 among which are 24 COVID-19 suspected cases, and 42,000 with 11 notified and referred cases of the virus at the entry at Widikum in Batibo.
The Regional Delegate of Public Health, Kingsley Che Soh, raised an outcry that in spite of persistent warning signals on the dangers of the pandemic and measure such as travelling only in cases of absolute necessity, many people keep travelling in violation of this vital precautionary measure. He said figures so far recorded by the Matazem Screening Post show a disturbing rise of passengers from 20,000 to 30,000 per week, and it is steadily increasing.
The next stop was at the low cost houses at Upstation in Bamenda, with a capacity of 61 beds for eventual use as quarantine center. The delegation proceeded to the COVID-19 Incident Command and Treatment Centers, and the site for the construction of a standard Isolation Ward, the Diagnostic Laboratory Unit, the Hydro Alcoholic Production Unit and the Post Mortem Ward all at the premises of the Regional Hospital in Bamenda, and later the Quarantine and Treatment Center at Azam Hotel.
During a conference to round up the visit, the visiting delegation appreciated the empowerment of the response with the institution of a Call Center with six toll-free telephone lines, a laboratory which investigates all suspected cases within 24 hours, diagnosis and management of confirmed cases and the Isolation Ward with 16 beds. He lauded sensitisation and quality control efforts which has uncovered the fact that 80 percent of chloroquine and Azithromycin sold in the region are fake.



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