“People are really suffering”; PENASED’s Executive Director Wato Joseph Urges for Universal Health Coverage in Cameroon

By Sandrine M.

On August 27, 2020, a public-private partnership contract to put in place the Universal Health Coverage in Cameroon was signed in Yaounde. This contract was signed by Cameroon’s Minister of Public Health Manaouda Malachie and the Director General of the implementing company, Sante Universelle Cameroun SA, Jacqueline Mekongo. However since that time, it is yet to be effected.

Recently in Yaounde, a workshop on universal health coverage and health care financing was held in Yaounde for three days where different civil society organizations were being trained on the subject. The Executive Director of PENASED, Wato Joseph was amongst the facilitators of this workshop and he urged that the issue of universal health coverage in Cameroon be given more attention.

Wato Joseph, Executive Director, PENASED

Speaking to Insight244, he said universal health coverage focuses on how everybody can have access to health care at low cost.

“We need enough money to relize the universal health coverage to see that in Cameroon people can benefit from access to healthcare at a cheaper cost”. He said.

He added that the workshop was within the framework of a universal health program that is ongoing in many African countries with Cameroon as one of the beneficiaries.

“We were trained as trainers of health financing and universal health coverage. I was fortunate to be amongst those who received this training”.

According to the humanitarian leader, more attention should be given to healthcare since there are so many people who do not have access to proper healthcare.

“People are really suffering as they find it difficult in having access to health care. Health is something that we cannot ignore and attention needs to be given to it. We need more access to health care and we need money to achieve this.”

To this effect, he pleaded with the government of Cameroon to live up to their engagement on the percentage of the National budget to be invested in health.

“From the engagement that our head is state took in Abuja, he said 15% of the national budget will be invested in health. Today in Cameroon, we are about 6% for the investment and it is not up to what was made as engagement in Abuja. We are therefore pleading with the government to live up to this commitment so that universal health coverage will be a reality in Cameroon”.

According to statistics published by WFP in 2018, an estimated 40% of Cameroonians live below the poverty line. To this effect, it is hoped that the issue of universal health coverage be realised in the country soonest.

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