Persons living with HIV-AIDS, in the North West Region of Cameroon can now receive their treatment in any health unit in the Country due to the ongoing Anglophone crisis. This was revealed recently by Doctor Gladys Tayong Fosah, the Regional Coordinator of the North-west Regional Technical Group for The Fight against HIV-AIDS, during an interview with Maikem’s Diary.
“The Anglophone crisis has displaced many of our clients making it difficult to keep tract of persons living with HIV/AIDS and for them to pick-up treatment at their various health units. While new clients are adding, the old ones are living. We had to implement the multi-more dispensation where patients could receive more than 3-6 months of treatment. We also issue the “Chronic Care Cards” which enable clients with chronic conditions to get their treatment anywhere in the country. On these cards, we put identifying information and the particular drug regimen that these patients are taking. If they are displaced and find themselves in the West, Centre regions, or out of their localities, they can present these cards to any health center and they will recognize the regiment and administer it to them.” Says Dr Gladys Tayong Fosah.
The whole socio-political saga has greatly destabilized the control of persons with HIV/AIDS in the NWR. In Dec 2017, 35300 patients were on antiretroviral drugs, with an addition of 300-400 newly diagnosed patients. 36000 active patients were on treatment as oppose to the expectation of 37000 by the end of June 2018. In addition to that, there has been a declined in the intake of postpartum antiretroviral (ARV) by new born babies as oppose to the West region which has rather increased. This has caused the North-west Regional Technical Group for The Fight against HIV-AIDS to supply more of this treatment to health units in the West.
“We are not sure if patients have been on regular treatment because we are not seeing them. Some have reportedly taken treatment in Mbouda, Bafoussam etc. When we call some of these patients, they will say they have taken treatment in Yaoundé, but we are not seeing them physically, so we are not able to guarantee that they are actually doing fine or taking treatment the way they are supposed to take”. Dr Gladys added.
So far, some health units have shut down with abandoned drugs worth over 62 million cfa, due to the increasing violence of the crisis while those still operating are running short of antiretroviral drugs; like the case of a health unit in Nkambe. Luckily the North West special Fund for Health has been able to restock the unit.
Ever since the Anglophone crisis started in 2016 in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon, many sectors have been badly affected with many fleeing their homes to the bushes, other cities and Nigeria. Many Cameroonians have called for a cease-fire from both the separatists and the military but so far, it has fallen on deaf ears.