The Director General of the international medical and humanitarian non-governmental organization (NGO) Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) has revealed that the Cameroon government wants to closely control the organisation’s operations in the northwest region.
Stephen Paul Cornish is currently in Cameroon to negotiate the lifting of the ban on its activities in the crisis-stricken English-speaking northwest region.
“We were suspended while waiting for the clarification of our context of operations with the Ministry of Health. Meanwhile, it has become clear during the course of ulterior discussions that the Cameroon government would want to more closely control our medical humanitarian operations,” Cornish said.
“We want to work in Cameroon according to the principles of international humanitarian law and medical ethics as obtained everywhere. For us, the most important thing in the northwest is to guarantee health services access to the population and it is undeniable that this suspension has had an impact.”
He noted that getting medical access to the crisis stricken areas remains the priority of his organisation.
“We know that the current crisis has been catastrophic to the population there and working to ensure access to medical treatment is our priority,” the MSF Director General said.
“We also recognise that there exist humanitarian needs in the southwest and extreme north regions where our teams are providing essential treatment, and in Yaounde where we are accompanying the Ministry of Health in the treatment of persons infected by COVID-19.”
“Our objective is to ensure that we can find a way of working which guarantees that all the populations have access to the treatment which they need. MSF has been working in Cameroon for 35 years along with colleagues of the Ministry of Health to ameliorate the quality of treatment offered to patients and thanks to innovation and the exchange of technical expertise, our work has been diversified, but it remains based on clear medical needs.”
According to the MSF boss, it was important for the humanitarian organisation to work in the northwest region because of the situation there, noting that “the displaced population finds it difficult to access basic services including medical treatment.”
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