Cameroon: Bamenda Regional Hospital Authorities Decry Frequent Stray Bullets from Live Gun Battles

The 64-year-old Regional Hospital in Bamenda, one of the major cities in the Once Independent State of Southern Cameroons, has since the beginning of the ongoing armed conflict between government and pro-independence forces been the pelted by stray bullets from gun battles in the vicinity.


Dr Dobgima Piso, a gynecologist says the maternity section located opposite the Mobile Police station, is hardest hit by frequent gunshots in the area with bullets flying right in to wards where nursing mothers and babies sleep. According to him, nursing mothers, newborn babies and health personnel are not safe given the commonality of stray bullets which come hitting the walls of the wards. 


Bamenda Regional Hospital has been the theatre of several stray shootings with bullets getting into the premises all the time


Speaking during the inauguration of the newly renovated maternity section, the Medic pleaded with management to erect a stone wall that would keep users and service providers out of harm’s way. 


The Director of the Hospital, Dr. Denis Nsame presented the state of the entire hospital given the ongoing renovation works. He said management was using only resources generated locally to realize all the earmarked projects. He said, the Covid-19 scare had affected the number of antenatal and delivery visits. He lamented that the number had dropped from 350 to 200 births every month.


"...Management shall continue to make the wards comfortable to protect users and service providers. The maternity section has 22 midwives and a gynecologist and there is need for more..." he said.


To him, there was need to change the narrative in communicating about the Covid-19 pandemic, to dispel the scare that makes contracting the virus come across as a death sentence.


".... When people are tested early, they get treated and discharged. A pregnant woman who tested positive was treated and she was delivered of a healthy baby. Most of the deaths occur on the way to the hospital because he or she was not brought here early enough..." the Director said.


The Regional Delegate for Public Health, Dr. Kingsley Che Nsoh lauded the management for the ongoing innovations at the hospital and encouraged the staff to put them to good use while expecting more in terms equipment from the state.


The Bamenda Regional Hospital was inaugurated in 1956 by Sir Roberts, the then British High Commissioner based in Lagos, Nigeria. This was when Southern Cameroons, then a UN Trust Territory under Britain was still administered from Enugu in Nigeria.


The Hospital was given the status of a 3rd level reference health institution for the North West in 2009, to serve a population now estimated at 2,180,309 inhabitants (2017 health census estimate. It has a capacity of 400 beds with a staff strength of about 440 workers).


For the year 2016, it had 55,657 new consultations and 15,575 old consultations making a total of 71,172 consultations, out of which 15,495 were admitted. In 2017 it registered 59,750 new consultations and 11,543 old consultations making a total of 71,293 consultations of which 14,214 were admissions. The average length of stay was 5.2 in 2015, 4.9 in 2016 and 5.1 in 2017.  The bed occupancy rate was 80.7% in 2015, 84.1% in 2016 and 83% in 2017.