AFCON And The Hospitals

By Henry Ngale Monono
One of the fundamental drawbacks of African nations is our total or almost malign neglect of the little things that matter. Many Cameroonians have gone delirious with joy at the almost completion of the Limbe Omnisport Stadium. The people who named it an omnisport stadium must be sacrificed at the stake for naming a stadium in a pure Anglophone environment with a name that means nothing in the queen’s language.
Anglophone Cameroon is replete with political nonentities in a mad sycophantic rush to satisfy their Francophone paymasters and in their macabre dance they sacrifice their own Anglophone souls to eat on their masters tables as house niggers. That, however, is another matter.
Back to the ill-fatedly named Omnisport stadium. Football is a full contact game and as any of the four billion people in sixty-one countries who watch the premier league, including yours truly would tell you it sometimes leads to serious bodily injury. It is a shame that none of the hospitals in the Anglophone region or in this case Fako Division has a critical care unit. If a player collapses on the field of play during the AFCON tournament in the ominously called Omnisport Stadium to which hospital would the player be taken to?
The lesser human beings in the city of Limbe have for years seen and heard ambulances with sirens at full blast ferrying the high and mighty from SONARA or the administration to the safe confines of the Hospital General or Muna Clinic in Douala where the state-of-the-art critical care units are available. The hoi polio like yours truly has to depend on the intervention of religious prophets, luck and antiquated medical equipment for survival. Most of the time death overtakes us and we are carried in stretchers into the mortuary or left on the floor like the ill-fated Monique Koumase of the Hospital Laquintinie notoriety.
Is football going to puncture and expose the soft under belly of the government’s incompetence and lack of political will to transform this country into a modern state? Lo and behold if a player collapses in the Limbe Omnisport Stadium and a quick brain scan has to be done which hospital would they go to in Fako division? If an international footballer falls down unconscious would there be an oxygen mask to carry him into critical care? Bafetimbi Gomis is a fine footballer in the English Premier League with a history of collapsing in the field and losing consciousness. He is still alive and playing football because of oxygen masks. Another player, Fabrice Muamba, suffered a cardiac arrest on the same grounds three years earlier. For 78 minutes his heart did not beat. He was technically dead. CPR was administered immediately. Emergency equipment was present. He is alive today thanks to modern medicine. We need pitchside state-of-the-art medical care before we start pretending to host international football competitions. A device called a portable defibrillator has saved lives around the word. That is what saved Fabrice. Is there one in Fako division or has anybody thought of one as we prepare for international football tournaments? If an international footballer collapses on the field of play shall we not expose our unpreparedness?
It is a sad note in our country a shame and a disappointment that none of the government hospitals in Fako division has a portable defibrillator. It is only SONARA and one private clinic which have portable defibrillators and oxygen fitted ambulances. It is only SONARA which has reliable firefighting equipment. It is only SONARA… Many people have collapsed and died including a pharmacist who collapsed and died in a tennis court who could have been saved.
The Minister of Health, Andre Mama Fouda, came to town and laid a foundation stone for an imaging centre in the Limbe Regional Hospital two years ago and nothing has happened yet. Business as usual. The saddest aspect of this and what makes it doubly galling and makes me madder than a hatter is the fact that a portable defibrillator is cheaper than the daily Limo bill of first child Brenda Biya. Why are we so blest?