Cameroon’s covid19 numbers have dropped drastically and so has the scare, but getting a test still remains an elitist move for the average citizen.
The availability of test kits and free covid19 tests is something majority of Cameroonians have never had access to. The ‘few’ that have however had the chance to get a test however say it leaves nothing to write home about. For many, the pandemic is a money making gesture for members of the health sector who falsify results.
Marie [not real name], a lady based in Buea, South West region says she is a victim of the scheme. Ahead of her trip to Dubai, she says she attempted to get tested at the town’s centres as a negative test result was required.
“I went to The Regional Hospital in Buea three days before my travelling to do the test and I was referred by a health practitioner there to go to the University of Buea’s health unit instead … I went to the UB health Unit and I was told there that their machines are bad, I don’t know how true that was” Marie says.
Needing the document urgently as her takeoff date was fast approaching, Marie was compelled to visit the country’s largest city, Douala to get the PCR test done.
She visited a first centre at the Stade Mbapelep but was told they no longer do the tests there as make shift covid19 structures built in stadiums had been demolished ahead of the African Cup of Actions, AFCON.
Her next stop was the Laquintinie hospital, infamous for the Monique Koumateke scandal.
“So I left for Laquintinie, followed the neccessary procedures and when it was time for my sample collection, I told the nurses incharge that my flight was on Tuesday November 24 and that I was from Buea” she says, adding that “they collected my sample and asked me to come and collect my results on Monday 23rd, knowing I will be traveling on Tuesday the 24th.”
Marie says her troubles truly started the day she went for her results: “After about 30mins the nurse calling out names of people to collect their results called my name. I went up to his table and he asked me to sit down, my heart melted. I knew something was wrong. I sat down and he said “Madam you cannot travel, your results show you are positive for covid-19″”
She was then asked to get quarantined at home or in hospital, till she was fit again but Marie noted that she did not believe the test results, given that she had shown no prior symptoms of the virus.
She left the facility, promising to visit another establishment for a covid19 test, when she was approached by some Laquintinie members of staff, a male and a female.
“They said they saw my movement with the nurses and they know I am covid19 positive, that they know I want to travel but with that result I can’t, so they will help me … They said I should give them 25000frs and they will produce me a negative covid19 result” explains Marie.
Desperate for a solution, she says she proposed a smaller sum but it was rejected.
Unaffordable covid19 tests
At the Douala Gynaeco- Obstetric and Pediatric Hospital, Marie says she was charged 36,000FCFA (Over 60 US Dollars) for another covid19 test, but do not pull through with the process since she could not afford the sum.
“Everyone at home was sad, my mother was in tears already. I called my travel agency manager where I bought my travel ticket, explained to him and asked him the preocedures and penalty for extending one’s flight.”
The travel agent she says helped her get a covid19 test which turned out negative contrary to what medics said.
Upon arrival in Dubai on November 25, Marie says she was tested once more at the airport.
“My results finally came out on the 27th – negative result tested and sealed by the Dubai government. It was then I realized this Covid19 issue is now a business in Cameroon” she argued.
Her greatest wish she says, would be to get justice but like many others who have probably Galen victim to the “scam” doesn’t have the means to.
Marie’s case is not an isolated one, as several complaints have been raised about how genuine the country’s Covid19 test results have been, as well as over medics charging for tests that are supposed to be free.
Mimi Mefo Info is yet to reach the Douala Laquintinie hospital or the Douala Gynaeco- Obstetric and Pediatric Hospital for comments on the supposed charges for covid19 tests as well as the sale of negative test results.
Mimi Mefo Info