Cameroon (National Times)-Cameroon’s Public Health Minister, Dr Manaouda Malachie has prescribed free treatment of all HIV-AIDS related diseases at any stage in the life for patients including nursing mothers and babies in the country beginning January 1st 2020.
According to a Ministerial Order signed on Thursday, April 4, all tests related to HI-AIDS are free in Cameroon as well as examinations of (CD4 and viral charge),medical consultations, prenatal consultation related to HIV-AIDS, medical documents, examinations, biological follow-up, antiretroviral drugs and medicines to prevent opportunistic infections.
The Minister also makes it clear that all drugs, reactive related to the treatment and care of HIV-AIDS patients would be supplied to hospitals and health services duly authorized to operate in Cameroon by his Ministry. Dr Manaouda has promised severe disciplinary sanctions to medical practitioners who would violate the order.
A Researcher at the Chantal Biya International Reference Centre told The National Times on condition of anonymity for lack of authorisation to talk to the press that, “the decision would greatly improve the lives of the patients”.
The Researcher explained that in the past, HIV-AIDS test was only free for children below 5 years and pregnant women. Moreover, the CD4 and viral charge were also payable and very expensive in some health units which ensured that many patients died because they could not be followed up.
“However, since ours is a research centre we offer these services free of charge and to the best of my knowledge it is the only case in Cameroon,” the expert stated. With the move by the Minister, the expert argued, many more persons would be save and even the poor would have total access to HIV-AIDS treatment.
Since Dr Manaouda Malachie was appointed Minister of Public Health on January 4, 2019, he has been canvassing for free health services to the less privileged. Last week, he ordered all public health facilities to release patients who were being detained for unpaid bills. He has charged health officials to propose other ways of addressing the situation.