Wfac strongly condemns the incident that resulted of the death of a pregnant woman at the Laquintinie hospital
MEDIA STATEMENT Buea, Cameroon - March 13, 2016;
Women for a Change, Cameroon (Wfac) strongly condemns the incident at the Laquintinie Hospital in Douala, that resulted to the death of 31-year-old pregnant woman named, Ms. Koumate Monique and her twins.
Maternal health is human rights. No woman should be deprived of this rights. There is no excuse to justify the negligence of medical personal of Laquintinie, who deliberately abandoned a pregnant woman to die because she could not afford to pay for the deposits for delivery.
According to an eye-witness and posts on social media, Ms. Koumate Monique was refused medical attention “…because she couldn't pay a hospital deposit which often ranges from 50 000 - 250 000 FCFA…as such she was abandoned by the health personnel, and moments later, she died”.
Based on one journalist’s recollections “ ...after confirmed death by the doctor, it was then that one of her relatives rushed to a nearby pharmacy, bought a razor blade and struggled to save the babies. The twins however died shortly after because they were not also given medical care”, he explained.
“ It is insane to think of Ms. Koumate Monique’s death as a mere medical accident. This is a result of a payment-before-treatment policy, which sometimes encourages lack of providing urgent medical attention to save lives”, said Zoneziwoh Mbondgulo-Wondieh, Executive Director of Women for a Change, Cameroon (Wfac). “this act contributes to the increasing maternal deaths in Cameroon, which now stands at 690 deaths per 100 000 live births”.
“This is a very disturbing situation, a gross violation of Ms. Koumate Monique’s individual human rights, therefore must not be overlooked” said Zoneziwoh Mbondgulo-Wondieh.
According to a 2015 United Nations and World Health Organisation reports, maternal mortality in the country is one of the highest in the world, and everyday, 20 women in Cameroon die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth.
Based on this incident and the sad death of Ms. Koumate Monique, which in the first place should not have happened, if prompt medical attention was provided, we at Wfac demand on the Cameroon government through its Ministry of Public Health to;
Reinforce the implementation of the “health care service policy” on emergency health problems and complications from every public health facility as indicated in the “1443A February 29, 2016, Minister of Health Communique”.
Ensure free health care services, drugs and treatments for poor and vulnerable women, especially expecting mothers and those in maternity labour,
Compensate the family of Ms. Koumate Monique for loss of consortium, pain, emotional distress and suffering,
Call on all health units and institutions, public or private, to put patients health and lives first before money.
Wfac also urges global and national civil society, including international development partners to call on the government of Cameroon to intensify its efforts towards the Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA).