In December 2019, a mysterious illness was reported in Wuhan, China. The cause of the disease was soon confirmed from a new kind of virus called coronavirus, and the infection has spread to a number of countries around the world including Cameroon.
World Health Organization (WHO) has termed the coronavirus disease COVID-19. Reports on March 10, this year say, the disease has already spread to nearly 100 countries in the world, and have killed over 4,020 people and counting.
On March 6, 2020, the Ministry of Health in Cameroon announced the first 2 cases diagnosed in Yaounde, stemming from France through a said Cameroonian, now having a French Nationality.
The Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) Health Services’ Doctors and Health Administrators, on March 11, convened an extraordinary meeting at the Baptist Center Nkwen, Bamenda to discuss appropriate measures and ways to manage the disease outbreak.
Medical scientists say the disease spread 10 times faster than the Ebola Virus. By March 10, 2020 there were already more than 120,000 diagnosed cases and 4,026 deaths globally.
Although signs and symptoms of COVID-19 are generally similar to normal seasonal flues, Doctors say the disease originated from the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus epidemic that breakout in China in 2003, more severe and kills faster.
Dr. Denis Palmer of Mbingo Baptist Hospital (MBH) said the symptoms of coronavirus are more severe and commonly characterized by fever, fatigue, cough, and dyspnea. “If one manifests such signs and symptoms, the person is recommended to urgently see the doctor.
Everyone can be affected by the diseases, but older people of age 50 and above and people with health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart diseases and chronic respiratory diseases are most likely to be affected with a higher fatality rate of more than 5 percent.
“The disease is spread mainly from person to person, through respiratory droplets, and close contact with infected person.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Dr. Palmer said, .. “but WHO recommends that countries, families and individuals respect and take preventive measures seriously to keep away the pandemic.
The Director of CBC Health Services, Prof. Tih Pius Muffih during the event, said that the event was a time to equip the doctors and health administrators on the origin, signs, and symptoms transmission, and management of COVID-19.
“You cannot seat and fold your arms when you know there is a lion in the bush coming your way. It is time for us to prepare, to know how to diagnose the disease, how to prevent and manage it”
“The virus spreads very fast though the fatality rate is just about 3 percent. People don’t need to panic, but be vigilant, and maintain proper hygiene so as to prevent being contaminated,” Prof. Tih cautioned.
In the days ahead CBC Health Services will set up committees in our health facilities and communities to manage the disease spread and sensitize the population with the right information about the virus. The Director said there are “opportunists” who will want to sell fake drugs in the name of treating or preventing the disease.
“Many people especially Cameroonians are still ignorant about the disease spread. Everyone is vulnerable and need to be educated about the pandemic because it is real”, the Director added.