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Cameroon hospital chief sacked over death of pregnant woman

Douala, Cameroon | AFP |

The director of a public hospital in Cameroon’s economic capital Douala was sacked Tuesday after the death of a woman pregnant with twins sparked protests and heated political debate.

Under a ministerial decree, Jean II Dissongo was removed from his post at the Laquintinie Hospital over the death last month of 31-year-old Monique Koumateke.

The family of the dead woman have accused hospital personnel of failing to treat her, while officials say she was already dead when she arrived.

In an act of desperation, a relative sliced open the young woman with a surgical knife at the entrance to the hospital’s maternity unit in an effort to save her foetuses.

A video of the scene was posted on Facebook, prompting many shocked online responses with some calling Cameroonian doctors “murderers”.

Hundreds of people subsequently protested in Douala to denounce the treatment in public hospitals, where doctors and nurses often refuse to care for patients who cannot pay the bill.

Calls for the country’s health minister to step down have increased in recent weeks, even from within the ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement.

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