Month: June 2014

RESPONSIBILITY

“Someone or something may have been responsible for where you are, but you are responsible for staying there

(Oyakhilome)

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THE SICK HOSPITAL SYSTEM (2)

Reports reaching me now say Eboa Leo has died at the Laquintinie hospital in Douala. The over 60-year old could certainly not hold on in the face of such a system. And there it goes that another life is lost.

Wake up C. G.

THE SICK HOSPITAL SYSTEM

 

Eboa Leo has been injured by a collapsed wall surrounding the Government High School, Akwa in Douala. He is a mentally deranged man. He is bleeding, and from what obtains, it could be an internal bleeding that has found its way out via his bottom. He is bad; the sight of him is disheartening. His lips are wounded, and he barely manages to lie on the floor.

Eboa, on collapsed wall near fire fighter

Eboa, lying on ruins of the collapsed wall

According to bikeriders who witnessed the collapse, Eboa was sleeping at a spot he usually occupies when the wall broke down. They succeeded in pulling him out, before calling the fire brigade. Elements of the fire brigade have tansported him to the Laquintinie hospital, but one of them returns to the scene really pissed off. “I have taken the man to the hospital, he is between life and death, and the people there have refused to attend to him. He is lying there on the stretcher, and they have not even touched him, even though it is an emergency” he angrily spoke out.

Remains of Eboa's belongings by the collapsed wall

Remains of Eboa’s belongings

And so, I decide to move to the Laquintinie hospital, and true to the fire fighter, Eboa is stil on the stretcher, groaning lowly in pain. He has not been attended to; hs clothes are still bloody. I am speechless. I ask to see Eboa, and a hospital attendant to whom I ask if he has been attended to, says “They have just come and left him here, that who should take care of him. It is not because this is a public hospital eh. What should he be treated with. We need money.” And there he lay, poor unfortunate Eboa.
As I turned to leave, the hospital attendant called me back, ” You see there,  they would try to at least clean him and change his clothes. But truly, if they don’t pay, nothing can be done”, he told me.
And so I left, wondering how it could be that  the the walls of a government institution, that the school is, crumbles on a human being; he is transported by a government car by the elements of the national fire brigade; to a government health institution, the Laquintinie hospital; yet, prompt medical attention is denied him because of “money”.
This is just Eboa’s case, and I am sure that several other such cases are recorded and reported day after day in our public health institutions.
Wake up C.G.

BAN ON NON-BIODEGRADABLE PLASTIC BAGS: THE WRONG WAY FORWARD

Since April 24, 2014, the use of non-biodegradable plastics has been banned in Cameroon. Anyone using such plastic bags does so illegally. In markets, pharmacies, supermarkets, shops, grocery stores, fish stores and everywhere else requiring their use, local alternatives are being sought, like the use of old newspapers, cartons, clothes, cement bags, etc.

If you happen to find yourself in a fish shop without some container to carry your fish, then be sure to find it deposited on your cloth, because as you would be told, “il n’y a pas de plastics”, meaning “there are no plastic bags”. If you question why they have no plastic bags for packaging, the response will be “on n’a pas de plastics biodegradables. Les plastics qu’on avait, n’est-ce pas ils sont venus les arrachés? Vous voulez qu’on fasse comment?” (“We have no biodegradable plastic bags. The bags we had have been seized, so what do you want us to do?”)

And so it goes that a stroke at a time, non-biodegradable plastic bags may soon be history. And the reason advanced for this remains that they have negative consequences on the environment, and the health of its inhabitants.

Of course this is true! And I will add that there are even more non-biodegradable plastics to be seized from rivers and streams in the nation’s capital, Yaounde, which often are cause for flooding in the central town; and often causes unhealthy standing water at the backs of homes and even hospitals – a true danger to persons already in danger on hospitals bed.

Typical of Yaounde - Water courses as dwellings for plastics

Typical of Yaounde – Water courses as dwellings for plastics

I will also add that there is even more glaring waste, harmful to the environment and the inhabitants, in the short as well as the long term, like overflowing trash cans, and roads turned to dustbins.

And I will further add, that liquid waste, ensuing from suck-a-ways and overflowing toilets are like streams in prominent markets, like the Acacia market in the Biyem-Assi neighbourhood, Yaounde.

Imagine a lady dressed in trousers, and told that such a dressing is indecent. She is immediately stripped off her garment, and told to get on an acceptable one. Is she expected to remain naked while the alternative is sought? Though the likening to a lady may not avail much, it suffices for me to say before non-biodegradable plastics were to be officially banned in Cameroon; biodegradable alternatives should have been at the disposal of the people.

I do not expect the government to provide the biodegradable plastic bags, neither would I say they shouldn’t do it, if they can. But I think they could have as well spurred actors in the market that could produce such plastics, and ensure their availability in the market before banning those at hand. That, I think, should have been the good government that we expect of it.