Coronavirus Pandemic: Garoua Regional Hospital Maternity Takes Special Measures

With the financial and technical support of the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, all four pregnant Covid-19-positive cases received since the outbreak were successfully and safely delivered.

The confirmation on March 6, 2020 of Cameroon’s first case of the Coronavirus or Covid-19 meant quick action had to be taken by public health authorities to safeguard lives. For health personnel, the challenge was even more daunting. As they had to continuously guard against infection from the flow of patients whose Covid-19 status they knew nothing about. And so the situation was not different with staff of Garoua Regional Hospital Maternity.

Fortunately, the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, came in handy with financial and technical assistance. “Our staff were trained on how to look out for suspected Coronavirus cases so that they could be screened. And if positive, they were isolated from all other patients and placed on treatment. Our main concern was Covid-19-positive women coming to deliver and pregnant women not due delivery, but who were Covid-19-positive,” explains Dr François Dadao, Gynaecologist/Obstetrician, Head of Garoua Regional Hospital Maternity.

After the training, UNFPA refurbished an individual isolation ward and other wards for Covid-19-positive cases. And offered Covid-19 individual protective gear and delivery kits. “The maternity later extended the training to other hospital workers in the region - still with support from UNFPA. The Garoua Regional Hospital Anaesthesist, who is also the Covid-19 Focal Point, trained health staff in Guider, Tchollire, Pitoa, etc,” Dr Dadao remembers.

In all, Garoua Regional Hospital Maternity has since March 2020 handled four Covid-19-positive pregnant women. Who were safely and successfully delivered. Just like the 10 Covid-19-positive pregnant women in the rest of North Region who also delivered safely, Dr Dadao discloses.  

Those who tested positive were placed on treatment in the UNFPA-refurbished isolated maternity ward after confirmation of their diagnosis by Centre Pasteur, Garoua branch. The National Covid-19 Treatment Protocol was administered and evaluation tests carried out after two weeks. If negative, the patient was discharged. And if positive, they continued their treatment while still being hospitalised.

“We organised ourselves such that each day, there were two well protected nurses on the lookout for suspected Covid-19 cases amongst pregnant women,” the medic recalls. “We have continued with the same work schedule because the pandemic is not yet over. As at now, we have few cases of Covid-19 hospitalisation in the hospital. Since about three months now, we have not had any pregnant woman who tested positive for Covid-19 in the maternity,” Dr Dadao attests with a grin of fulfillment.

Garoua Regional Hospital is a referral hospital in the North Region. It also trains midwives and other health staff on newborn care. Like it is the case with most health facilities in the country, Garoua Regional Hospital Maternity suffers from insufficient staffing.

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