Leaders of the World Medical Association have denounced the burning down of a hospital in the Cameroonian town of Kumba in the latest episode of the country’s separatist conflict.
Local doctors have described the attack as ‘barbaric’, while the WMA President Dr. Leonid Eidelman said the assault was ‘a disgrace’.
He added: ‘Whenever a hospital is attacked or, in this case, burnt down, it undermines doctors’ ability to care for their patients and it destroys a country’s health service’.
This week’s attack by armed men forced patients and medical staff to flee from the hospital. Local newspapers report that the armed men may have been angry that the hospital was treating government troops wounded in the separatist war and disclosing the identities of armed fighters to the military.
But Dr. Tetani Ekwe, President of the Cameroon Medical Council, said the national order of Cameroon doctors and all medical staff in Cameroon are speechless because they have always respected neutrality in the conflict between the Cameroon military and armed groups.
Dr. Eidelman said the attack should be utterly condemned. ‘It is essential to ensure the safety and personal security of healthcare workers to enable the provision of the highest standard of care to patients. If healthcare workers are not safe, they might not be able to provide care, and patients will suffer’.