By Godfred Sackmu
The World Health Organisation, WHO, has donated materials worth over FCFA 500 million to the Ministry of Public Health to help combat Guinea worm and COVID-19.
WHO’s representative in Cameroon, Dr. Phanuel Habimana, handed over the materials to Cameroon Public Health Minister, Dr. Manouda Malachie, on Thursday, October 28.
The equipment resulted from a partnership between WHO in Cameroon, African Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank.
Dr. Phanuel Habimana said guinea worm “is a disease that was eradicated in Cameroon since 2007 and it resurfaced in the Far North Region in 2019 in a 49-year-old woman in the Dabana village. In 2020, another case was detected in a four-year-old girl and 6 cases were seen in animals, notably in five dogs and in one cat still in the same village. The disease attacks mostly the leg in the form of a worm.’’
The ceremony centred on three major objectives with the first being that Cameroon receives USD 1.6 million (over FCFA 851 Million) from the African Development Bank to support the COVID response. Through this finance, WHO was able to procure the machines that will help to do the sequencing of the genetic materials of the COVID 19 pandemic, and also to provide three medicalised Ambulances and other equipment to protect health workers, not leaving out three cameras and computers.
The second objective was to deliver the equipment acquired through the Islamic Development Bank. This is an important project between the government of Cameroon and the Islamic Bank aimed at transforming the blood transfusion system in the country.
“In this light, we have donated refrigerators and freezers for the blood bank facilities. This project will go operational for two years. The third objective is to provide two vehicles and two motorbikes to support the surveillance and the response to Guinea worm, and also calling on the attention of the Ministry of Public Health that more action is needed for Cameroon to remain a Guinea worm-free country,” Dr. Phanuel Habimana articulated.
Added to the objectives, Dr. Phanuel Habimana said it was also to celebrate the partnership between WHO, the government of Cameroon, African Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, CEMAC/OCEAC and all partners coming together to support the efforts of the Cameroonian government in providing services in these different areas and more importantly to the people of Cameroon.
The event witnessed the signing of the memorandum of accord between Public Health Minister, Dr. Manaouda Malachie and the representative of WHO in Cameroon, Dr. Phanuel Habimana. It is believed these cooperation ties will go a long way to enhance the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and the Guinea worm disease.
At the end of the ceremony, Dr. Manaouda Malachie expressed gratitude and opined that the materials received will serve as a springboard in the fight against COVID-19 and Guinea worm. “What we received today will enhance proper follow-up of the pandemic, not leaving out Guinea worm. We should not relent our efforts in the fight against coronavirus; the vaccination does not kill, so we need to get vaccinated. Vaccination starts in two weeks; let’s protect ourselves,” he stressed.