On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that the pathogen first reported from Wuhan City, Hubei Province of the People’s Republic of China known as the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), now constituted a pandemic – “occurring worldwide, or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people”.
As of 31 May 2020, a total of 6,104,980 confirmed cases had been reported globally, 1 including over 370,000 deaths in at least 185 countries and territories. Total confirmed cases on the African continent have exceeded 130,000, including 4,070 deaths, with 5,904 cases in Cameroon alone, one of the highest rates in Western and Central Africa. Cases in Cameroon have been notably declared outside urban perimeters and in all nine regions, with the Centre, Littoral and Western regions most heavily impacted. As the multiplier infection rate (R rate) is estimated to be two and a half without any preventative measures taken, it is vital that actions in tandem with the measures already taken by the Government of Cameroon, such as social distancing and increased sanitary procedures, are taken to curb transitions of the disease.
Cameroon is at high risk of further spread of COVID-19 as it grapples with unprepared health care systems that may not be able to contain an outbreak without adequate health preparedness, response and recovery mechanisms. Broad social and economic impacts are expected due to several factors and barriers, such as lack of, or inadequate access to, reliable information on prevention, limitations in or exclusions from accessing diagnostic and treatment services, armed conflict and violence, cramped and crowded living and working conditions, stigma and discrimination, lack of access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and unequal access to hygiene and sanitation products.
The COVID-19 National Preparedness and Response plan developed by the Ministry of Public Health has already identified key needs in the overall response, including capacity gaps in public health services and disease surveillance points throughout the country. Simultaneously, and as part of its support to Member States’ responses to COVID-19, IOM published on 15 April 2020 its global Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP) articulated around four strategic priorities and twelve pillars,echoed in IOM’s support to the Government of Cameroon.
In an effort to view how international mobility has been impacted by the pandemic, and to monitor closely the changes in developments in real-time to mobility restrictions, IOM has developed a global data portal for COVID-19 Mobility Impacts