Cameroon doctors in the capital Yaoundé went on strike and left patients without vital medical care. This strike is the latest action in a series of union actions that have badly affected the country in the middle of political crisis.
SYMEC, a doctors’ union, demanding improved working conditions and compensation has left nurses to care for sick people in several major hospitals in Yaoundé.
Although this Cameroon doctors strike is not directly attached to other union actions, it still adds to the chaos in the country where protests have exploded in the Anglophone northwest and south regions since October.
For months, lawyers and teachers have been on strike to protest for equal rights with the French-speaking preponderance under the 35-year rule of President Paul Biya. In retaliation by the government, the internet in English-speaking regions was cut-off.
Patients fumingly waited to be attended to at Yaounde’s Central Hospital while holding their prescriptions and test results, but no doctors were in sight.
Marianne Balla, while waiting in the Central Hospital stated that her father had a motorcycle mishap and must be operated on Monday. Unluckily, there are no surgeons and a nurse informed her that the doctors are on protest and they only attend to sick in-house patients or by appointment.
The Cameroon doctors strike comes at a dangerous time for President Biya who is being pressured to calmly resolve the growing crisis.
So far, hundreds have been detained and six have been shot among the protesters during rare instances of questioning the state authority prior to the presidential election next year.
In an apparent attempt by the government to stop online critics, the internet access has been cut in the two English-speaking areas for three months now which hinders business and prompted criticisms from the United Nations and several human rights groups.
However, with the assumption of Paul Biya looking to extending his rule, government crackdowns are expected to continue.