International humanitarian medical non-governmental organisation, Doctors Without Borders, DWB, has ceased operations in Cameroon’s troubled South West Region.
The decision made public today comes months after it had been suspended in the North West region.
DWB’s Deputy Coordinator of Operations for the South West, Denis Habaasa in the letter addressed to community leaders dated March 29, a copy of which MMI stumbled on cited a difficult relationship with government.
In the document, he wrote that DWB is leaving as “the ability of Doctors Without Borders to conduct its activities in the region has been severely hampered by a difficult relationship with the government authorities amidst false accusations of complicity to secessionists.”
DWB, he went on, had remained dedicated to its mission of improving access to health services to vulnerable communities. Government’s continuous accusations, the release noted, have made the working atmosphere unbearable. Habaasa however indicated that the organization intends to maintain its core principles.
“Therefore, starting March 29th, Doctors Without Borders will suspend all its activities in all facilities and communities within the South West Region of Cameroon” the release of the Deputy Coordinator noted.
In the meantime, DWB, the release also detailed, “will keep on supporting the patients currently admitted under our care for as long as possible as defined in the Letter of Agreement (LoA) signed by MSF and the facilities”.
Despite the desire to continue it’s work, DWB, the letter reiterated, “will no longer be providing ambulance services, support to medical care in the communities and/or support to any of the private or Ministry of Health medical structures as of today.”
The lone condition that would make DWB go back on its word, it revealed, will be the provision of conditions suitable for operation according to its principles.
In August 2021, DWB pulled out its team from the North West Region after the Cameroon authorities have refused to lift the ban placed placed on it since December 2020.
Emmanuel Lampaert, MSF’s operations Coordinator for Central Africa had said they could not stay any longer “… in a region where we are not allowed to provide care to people”
The suspension came after a series of accusations by government. Government officials including the Minister of Territorial Administration, Paul Atangana Nji has repeatedly accused DWB of aiding separatist fighters in the conflict-stricken areas.
DWB has refuted the allegations multiple times, asking that government substantiates its claims. Like in the North West region, thousands in the South West regions will go without any emergency aid institution.
More lives remain at risk than ever before, and the many employed by the international body will likely go jobless.