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C.AR: Pediatric laments non-use of masks, social distance measures

Central African Republic

Dr. Jess Elio Kosh Komba is a young Pediatric Oncologist, one of the most renowned in Bangui’s Pediatric University Hospital Center. For some months now, he has been undergoing a series of exercises every morning at the entrance to his department. It is a new practice for all doctors before they can enter the pediatric ward, since the first positive case of coronavirus was reported in the country.

“When you leave home for the hospital, you must follow hospital rules, wash your hands at the gate before entering the hospital. Once all this is done, wearing a mask is mandatory inside the hospital. It should also be required for the patients, but so far the distribution hasn’t been done due to lack of funds”, the Pediatric Oncologist said.

Once in office, Elio is subjected to several tests. From the parents to children he sees every day, no one wears a protective mask against the coronavirus and even social distancing is barely respected.

“We can’t afford to buy the masks,’‘ Angeline, the mother of a patient said.

Aware of the economic difficulties that the population is facing and the risks incurred in these difficult working conditions, Elio and his team try to bring a bit of relief to patients, while remaining prudent.

The government has been urged to ensure better preventive measures are taken for the safety of medical professionals and the protection of the population.

Samuel Thierry Nzam reports that “Wearing a mask is not yet a daily habit among the Central African population. Even parents who bring their children here to the pediatric centre are not accustomed to wearing a mask and even for the protection of their children. So doctors at the pediatric centre are the most exposed to the virus. A lot needs to be done in raising awareness.’‘

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