U.S. Extends COVID-19 Aid to Cameroon
The United States government contributed an additional $2.9 million in COVID-19 assistance to Cameroon in late November.
Since the start of the pandemic, the U.S. has distributed more than $7.9 million to Cameroon. The money has helped train more than 160 laboratory personnel in five regions and nearly 850 health care workers in infection prevention and control.
“We are proud to provide this additional assistance,” U.S. Ambassador to Cameroon Mary Daschbach said.
In late 2020, the U.S. also donated an array of virus-fighting equipment, including 200 infection prevention kits with personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitizer to help keep Cameroonian health care workers safe.
Other donated equipment will help track, test and educate people about multiple diseases, such as malaria. Those items included 300 tablet computers to support data collection, reporting and analysis at community health facilities; 200 bicycles so health workers can reach communities; and 18 microscopes to enhance laboratory testing.
The items were delivered amid reports that increasing numbers of schoolchildren were being infected during COVID-19’s second wave.
The U.S. assistance is welcome in Cameroon, where misinformation about COVID-19 fuels widespread public denial of the disease’s existence. Public attitudes toward COVID-19 and treatments to prevent it largely are due to misinformation spread on social media, a government health official told the news network France 24.
In October, Cameroon announced that the COVID-19 delta variant was reported in the country and infection rates were rising. The Health Ministry encouraged people to continue taking preventive measures, such as wearing face masks, washing their hands regularly and practicing social distancing.
The health funding comes as Cameroon prepares to host 24 national football teams and thousands of fans for the annual African Cup of Nations tournament. The tournament is set to take place from January 9 to February 6 and will include 52 matches held in five cities.
To ensure safety, Cameroon is enforcing strict health protocols and will require a “health passport” for all those attending. People must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test or medical protection against the disease to enter stadiums. Cameroon expects to perform 1 million COVID-19 tests before and during the tournament.