Dr. Pierre Yves Bassong gave an interview to La Nouvelle Expression on newsstands on May 15, 2017. The president of the National Union of Physicians of Cameroon (SYMECC), neurosurgeon was assigned to the medical center of the Somalomo district, East of the country. He indicated that he would seek the annulment of that decision.
Question: How did you react to the note from the Minister of Public Health, assigning you in the Eastern Region?
Dr. Bassong: I learned it through social networks. I have not yet received the official note. I saw a note assigning me in the east, in a district medical center. At the regional hospital in Bamenda, I was already told to leave the hospital. So the note is effective, even as I have not yet seen it physically. We will see at the level of the union office the attitude to be taken in relation to this.
Question: Everything suggests that this is a disciplinary assignment following the strike that your union has initiated.
Dr. Bassong: There’s no question about that. It is a disciplinary assignment. Simply because at the Ministry of Public Health we have an organizational chart. My specialty and skills should not be made available to a borough medical center. According to the organizational chart of the Ministry of Public Health, I must be assigned at least in a regional hospital. Because a borough medical center has what is called a minimum package of activities. This does not concern neurology. According to the organization chart of the Ministry of Public Health, maybe gynecologists or pediatricians can be found there. There, we are faced with a malpractice of the Ministry of Public Health on the one hand, but also of the director of the regional hospital of Bamenda who, instead of respecting the 15 days that are granted to the one assigned before leaving his post, told me to leave the hospital less than 24 hours after this assignment. We understand very well that it is organized to avoid my presence in the hospital during the strike.
Question: Do you have the opportunity to challenge this decision?
Dr. Bassong: Absolutely. I have described the administrative mistakes that are obvious … But we will remain, as we have been doing since the beginning, very procedural. We will write to him to ask to cancel this assignment. If he refuses, we will take other measures.
Question: Will your assignment and those of your peers affect your strike movement?
Dr. Bassong: This decision instead strengthened the movement. Since that assignment, we have had many other members who have registered with the union. These are people who were reluctant … The MINSANTE made us understand that we are not safe. So from Monday, we will ask doctors to stay at home this time. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, doctors will stay at home.