Hospitals in Cameroon are accused of preventing insolvent patients from leaving.
CAMEROON’S YAOUNDE – Rosalie Dipoko, a 43-year-old farmer and single mother of three children, claims she has been barred from leaving the government’s Central Hospital in Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde, since March 25 because she, like others in her situation, cannot pay her bill.
She was involved in a fatal road accident in Bafia on the outskirts of Yaounde in December 2020. One of her legs has been amputated. Dipoko says she is tired of what she calls the physical and mental torture of being held against her will because she lacks $1,000 to settle her hospital bill.
Dipoko believes it is very unhealthy for a hospital to prevent poor people who are unable to pay their bills from returning to their homes. She claims that people go to hospitals to find relief, not to be psychologically tortured for the simple reason that they are poor and cannot afford to pay hospital bills.
She claims that guards forcibly prevent hungry patients from leaving the hospital to look for food, and that poor patients bathe in open spaces in front of passers-by.
Dipoko, along with dozens of other patients and family members, protested this week at government-run hospitals. They blame the government for not being able to care for poor patients and have asked officials to settle their bills and allow them to return home.
Some of the patients were evicted from hospitals. As part of their protest, others barred incoming patients from seeing medical personnel.