The patient population of the Sangmelima Referral Hospital is growing.

 

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When the foundation stone launching construction work for the Sangmelima Referral Hospital, SRH, was laid on December 13, 2007, the wish of potential patients in the Dja and Lobo Division, the entire South Region, Yaounde and Douala alongside neighbouring Equatorial Guinea, Congo, and Gabon was to have it complete at the end of an 18-month timeframe so as to mitigate their sufferings. However, the wait was long. From December 13, 2007, it took over seven years for the health structure to fling open its doors to patients. That was in December 2014 when medical consultations started. Notwithstanding, it was on January 12, 2015 that the SRH officially went operational.

It is a referral hospital as the name speaks Referral in the sense that the services and equipment are beyond those of a district or regional hospital. “We are a model in terms of health care and infrastructure,” said the Director of the Sangmelima Referral Hospital, Dr Joseph Alou’ou Ze. The 150-bed health structure “wants to limit health evacuation in the sub-region,” stressed Dr Alou’ou Ze. This therefore explains why the consultation fee of FCFA 2,200 for general consultation, FCFA 3000 for a night and FCFA 4,500 for special consultation, are seen by inhabitants of the locality as exorbitant and not within their reach. However, knowing what obtains elsewhere, coupled with the headache of lack of adequate equipment and overcrowding in some hospitals in the country’s cities has pushed many to drive to Sangmelima. 

So, besides the indigenes of Bitom, host village to the SRH, where else does the hospital tap its customers from? “Every patient like visitor has his/herself registered at the main gate,” Tchago Mboudwe, the gate man told Cameroon Tribune. It is from here that Cameroon Tribune observed that patients attending the hospital drive in from Cameroon’s main cities of Ebolowa, Douala, Yaounde and Sangmelima as well as the East Region. Michel Ondoua is one of the patients that can testify as to the indispensible value of the SRH. He came in from Bengbis, still in the South Region some 100 km from Bitom, smiled and showed great signs of relief at his health’s improvement since he started consulting at the SRH.

The hospital also attends to patients flown in from Equatorial Guinea, Congo and Gabon. Ebam-Bekel, from Ouesso in North Congo cannot recall which hospital in the Central African region that he has not visited. “I almost gave up for the unbearable pains on my bones until that fateful day when news of SRH came across.” Ebam-Bekel gladly told Cameroon Tribune that his health situation has greatly improved. The services are impeccable and the equipment irresistible, he observed, saying he was confident his health was not going to be the same again.

The number increases by the day and affluence noticed especially on week days. The figure fluctuates from around 60 to 40 patients per day. However, the hospital officials seems to have understood the secret of making use of the much sophisticated resources at their disposal to scale up hospital attendance by frequently organising free consultation campaigns. Two of such campaigns, on onto stomatology, cardiology and rheumatism have pulled crowds of over 100 people consulting each day. The third and ongoing of such campaigns focuses on surgery.

By February this year, over 800 patients are reported to have consulted at the SRH. The figure is said to have doubled by now. Almost all services testify of a steady increase in the number of patients. The mortuary has lodged 55 corpses. As at May 14, 2015, the mortuary fridge had nine corpses, going by Jean Marc Atangana. The human factor, the sophisticated technology, the qualified staff and the work motivation stand out as crowd pulling factors, revealed Dr Ernest Ella Onna. The medic explained that patients are sensitive, vulnerable and, to an extent, emotional and will always go back to where they find solace in terms of approach and consultation. “The 200 staff strength of the SRH is offering its best to keep its patients,” stressed Cameroon Tribune’s tour guides, Alex Fred Manga Ndgaba and Andre Parfait Mevongo M’Oyono, Service heads for Legal/Litigation Affairs and Personnel, respectively.

 

Source : Cameroon-Tribune