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Gauging Cameroon’s resilience to the COVID-19 pandemic: implications for enduring a novel health crisis

Henry Ngenyam Bang (Disaster Management Centre, Bournemouth University – Talbot Campus, Poole, UK)
Marcellus Forh Mbah (Institute of Education, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK)
Humphrey Ngala Ndi (Department of Geography, Higher Teachers Training College, University of Yaounde I, Yaounde, Cameroon)
Judwin Alieh Ndzo (Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK)

Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy

ISSN: 1750-6166

Article publication date: 11 November 2020

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine Cameroon’s health service resilience in the first five months (March–July 2020) of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The motive is to diagnose sub-optimal performance in sustaining health-care services during the pandemic to identify areas for improvement and draw lessons for the future.

Design/methodology/approach

This is principally qualitative, exploratory, analytical and descriptive research that involves the collation of empirical, primary and secondary data. A conceptual framework [health systems resilience for emerging infectious diseases (HSREID)] provides structure to the study and an anchor for interpreting the findings. The research validity has been established by analysing the aims/objectives from multiple perspectives in the research tradition of triangulation.

Findings

Cameroon has exerted much effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, several constraints and gaps exist. The findings reveal limitations in Cameroon’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the provision of fundamental health-care services under contextual themes of health infrastructure/medical supplies, human capital, communication/sensitisation/health education, governance and trust/confidence. Analysis of the identified impediments demonstrates that Cameroon’s health-care system is not resilient enough to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic and provides several insights for an enhanced response as the pandemic accelerates in the country.

Originality/value

This is one of the first scholarly articles to examine how Cameroon’s health-care system is faring in COVID-19 combat. Underscored by the novel HSREID model, this study provides initial insights into Cameroon’s resilience to COVID-19 with a view to enhancing the health system’s response as the pandemic unfolds and strengthens readiness for subsequent health crises.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to express our sincere appreciation to all the frontline health care workers in Cameroon who responded to our research enquiries on time despite their hectic schedules during the COVID-19 pandemic. Without your responses, it would have been practically impossible to write this article.

Citation

Bang, H.N., Mbah, M.F., Ndi, H.N. and Ndzo, J.A. (2020), "Gauging Cameroon’s resilience to the COVID-19 pandemic: implications for enduring a novel health crisis", Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/TG-08-2020-0196

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited