Health: Staff of Doctors Without Borders exonerated, appeals to government to be allowed to carry on

"We are enormously satisfied with the judgement that exonerates our five staff members and by extension, MSF as an organisation – of any wrongdoing,” says Sylvain Groulx, MSF coordinator in central Africa.

Doctors without borders through their communique deplores the fact that "our staff were forced to endure almost a year of imprisonment", these staff members apprehended on different dates in different circumstances, caused untold distress and anguish for them and their families.

"MSF has categorically denied
any complicity with armed groups or parties to any violent crisis or conflict. Our staff are guided
by medical ethics. These accusations were groundless from the first instance, especially as the
authorities knew exactly how we were providing medical support,” he says.

"Accusing medical personnel for simply doing their job, treating patients in front of them, is
simply against all medical and humanitarian ethics and laws," says Groulx.

The release explains that in in May 2022, following the detention of four staff members was a huge challenge for the team to continue work and took a decision to suspend activities in the South-West region of Cameroon.

"We are keen to restart our
much-needed lifesaving services, but basic preconditions must be met to ensure that our
medical activities can be conducted in a safe and secure environment, so that patients and staff
are protected".

“Despite our attempts to open a channel of dialogue with the government, to ensure our teams
can continue vital activities in South-West region, the government has been unresponsive. This
has made it difficult to reach an agreement that ensures working conditions guarantee the
safety of our teams and patients. This prevents us from resuming critical lifesaving medical services which are desperately needed in the Southwest region." says Groulx.

Doctors without Borders provides medical care to every patient in need, in line with medical
ethics and following the humanitarian principles of independence, impartiality and neutrality.

In December 2020, authorities suspended their medical activities in the North-West region
following a series of allegations accusing them of supporting local armed groups, which MSF has
consistently denied both publicly and in meetings with authorities.

This suspension was never
lifted, same reasons why Doctors without Borders remain open to dialogue to restart its medical support for the population.

MSF has worked in Cameroon since 1984 and in the South-West region since 2018. Since 2019, their medical teams in the South-West region have provided more than 400,000 medical consultations, and more than 68,000 consultations in health facilities that they support.

In 2021, Doctors without Borders supported facilities; assisted 2,284 births.

"Our ambulance teams, the only emergency referral system in the South-West until activities were suspended, transported more than 8,000 patients for urgent medical care in 2021".


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