Kidney patients in the conflict-plagued South West Regions and North West Regions of Cameroon have decried the numerous administrative curfews imposed on the Regions, stating that the curfews are killing them.
According to them, because of the numerous curfews, many of them can’t access the various haemodialysis centres for their routine checkups and treatment.
Speaking to The National Times, one of the patients, Stephen Amabo said: “I have been a kidney patient for three years now. I do change my catheter every two weeks because I can’t urinate freely without it .So I visit the haemodialysis centre often, but due to the curfew and constant gunshots, I’m forced to stay at home and experience this excruciating pain because my catheter is block, making it impossible for me to urinate,” he stated.
Ambo’s case is just one out of the numerous cases experienced by kidney patients in the two Anglophone Regions of Cameroon that have been engulfed by crisis, causing the death of many who can’t go for routine checkups.
Just like the South West Region, kidney patients in the North West Region are also experiencing a similar situation. It however took a lot of lobbying at times protests before haemodialysis centres were opened in the two English-speaking Regions of Cameroon.
Kidney patients in the North West and South West Regions were hitherto compelled to travel to Douala or Yaounde to seek medical attention.
Such practices were not only financially costly, but they exposed many patients to danger as most of them even lost their lives before they could see a medic.
After several years of anguish, the Government decided to open haemodialysis centres in the Regional Hospitals in Buea in the South West Region and Bamenda in the North West Region.
The Buea Regional Hospital Haemodialysis Centre was created by the Government in 2011 and inaugurated on September 12 same year by the Minister of Public Health, Andre Mama Fouda.
The Centre was opened to cater for 60 patients, but today it is taking care of over 300 kidney patients with new cases recorded every year.
Besides this huge number, the Buea Regional Hospital Haemodialysis Centre is plagued by numerous challenges among which are: Inadequate health personnel, outdated equipment and poverty.
Speaking to The National Times, Dr Nlonkak, a Neurologist at the Centre, explained that some patients don’t meet up with their financial responsibilities.
According to him, patients at the centre are expected to spend at least FCFA 300,000 FCFA monthly on follow up, dialysis, retroprotien injection, blood transfusion and medical examination.
“In situation of a crisis, depending on its severity, patients require FCFA 700, 000 to FCFA 1,000,000 to stabilise them,” Dr Nlonkak stated.
The medic said because of inadequate equipment and personnel, officials of the Buea Haemodialysis Centre are forced to group patients for dialysis sessions.
“About 75 patients undergo their sessions daily from Monday to Fridays,” he said.