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Monday, March 14, 2016

FAKLA COMMUNIQUE ON THE INCIDENT AT THE LAQUNITINE HOSPITAL ON 12 MARCH 2016.

Press Release
We, Members of the Fako Lawyers Association (FAKLA), express our indignation to the appalling incident that occurred on 12th March 2016 at the Laquintine Hospital leading to the allegations of death of 31 year old Ms. MONIQUE KOUMATE and her twin babies.  We equally express our fury to the degrading health sector in the country and the poor medical facilities available to Cameroonians leading to the death of tens of thousands of Cameroonians.  We recall the allegations of trafficking of babies in hospitals in Cameroon. We equally recall the adage that “Health is wealth’’ and notes that our country cannot emerge in 2035 without a robust health sector.


FAKLA notes that the 1946 World Health Organization (WHO) Constitution enshrines “…the highest attainable standard of health as a fundamental right of every human being.” FAKLA equally notes that the right of health includes access to timely, acceptable, and affordable health care of appropriate quality.


FAKLA recalls that Article 25 of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 states that "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including ....... and medical care and necessary social services." That the said Declaration makes special mention of care given to those in motherhood or childhood.

FAKLA acknowledges that the government of Cameroon has recorded some progress in the health sector. FAKLA equally acknowledged the LETTRE-CIRCULAIRE OF 26 FEV 2016 of the Minister of Public Health to DIRECTORS of Hospitals titled: Prise en charge des urgences medico-chirugicales vitales in which the Minister stated in paragraph II thus “Je rappelle les dispositions anterieures toujours, a savoir que toutes les urgences medicales ou chirugucales vitales beneficient d’une prise en charge urgent etprioritaire; le paiement des soins et autres actes etant exigible 24 heures plus tard”.   It goes further to state in paragraph III that “Cette organization est indispensable pour garantir un access immediate equitable a des soins de qualite pour tous les patients en situation de detresse”.

FAKLA notes that despite the above, much still has to be accomplished in order for the Country to meet the basic minimum of affordable health standards.


Hence, FAKLA calls on the Government to accelerate progress on this national and global priority and urges the Government to apply a human rights-based approach to health which provides strategies and solutions to address and rectify inequalities, discriminatory practices and unjust power relations, which are often at the heart of inequitable health outcomes. The goal of such a human rights-based approach is that all health policies, strategies and programs shall be designed with the objective of progressively improving the enjoyment of all people to the right to health.

FAKLA urges the Government to adhere to rigorous principles and standards in achieving these goals which may include amongst others:


    • That there should be available sufficient quantity of functioning public health and health care facilities;

    • That Health facilities shall be physically and economically accessible to everyone  without any discrimination; and

    • That all health facilities must be respectful of medical ethics and sensitive to gender and life-cycle requirements.

    FAKLA calls on the Government to design Policies and programs to be responsive to the needs of the population as a result of established accountability and to encourage policy makers and service providers to meet their obligations in creating more responsive health systems.

    FAKLA calls on the Government to make a commitment to mainstream human rights into healthcare programs and policies, by looking at underlying determinants of health as part of a comprehensive approach to health and human rights.

    FAKLA notes that Cameroon is a State Party to the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and urges the Government to respect its obligations under the said Convention which provides that “The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. The steps to be taken by the States Parties to the present Covenant to achieve the full realization of this right shall include those necessary for:


    ......The creation of conditions which would assure to all medical service and medical attention in the event of sickness”.

    FAKLA calls on the Government to fulfill its obligations to respect, obligations to protect, and obligations to fulfill the right to health as provided in the ICESCR.

    FAKLA calls on the Government to immediately create a veritable INDEPENDENT Judicial Commission of Inquiry which should include amongst others Lawyers from the private BAR. We equally call on the Government to give the said Commission unfettered access to all requested information and to create a conducive and enabling environment for the Commission to carry out its investigation and that the Commission should be afforded   reasonable time to make public its report.  

    FAKLA calls on the Minister of Health to ensure that the said Circular of 26 February 2016 is implemented to the letter and anyone found acting contrary to the Circular should be punished according to the Law.

    FAKLA condemns the actions of the Minister of Health in preempting the final report of the Investigation Commission.  

    FAKLA concludes by reiterating that the right to health is a "fundamental, inalienable human right" that governments cannot abridge, and are rather obligated to protect and uphold.


    FAKLA extends its sincere condolences to the bereaved family.



    Done and Dated at Buea, This 14th Day of March, 2016.



    NKONGHO FELIX AGBOR-BALLA

    President

    FAKO LAWYERS ASSOCIATION


    When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)

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