Cameroon will manufacture about 12,000 protective masks per month for healthcare workers, who are on the front lines in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19). That means 400 masks produced every day by the Centre for High Technology 3D Printing at the École Nationale Supérieure Polytechnique (ENSP) in Yaoundé. The project is backed by the government of Israel.
“The center has all the capacity to create this type of mask. Our wish is to support our friends and share what we have in common with them. And if ever there is a need for masks, perhaps NGOs or other embassies could finance the manufacture of the masks,” said Isi Yanouka, Israel's ambassador to Cameroon.
Inaugurated on April 10, 2019, the Center for High Technology 3D Printing is equipped with 12 laboratories, more than 100 robots and 160 computers. Considered one of the most advanced of its kind in Africa, it incorporates state-of-the-art Israeli technology and equipment.
According to the Israeli envoy, the production of these masks, mainly intended for health professionals, will be done in collaboration with Israeli software developers and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). This equipment will be provided to them to make it possible to care for patients suffering from Covid-19 and to protect their entourage. This is taking place against a backdrop of a sharp rise in the disease with 685 cases confirmed as of April 7.
More than 100 health professionals have died from the new coronavirus since it appeared in China at the end of December, says Howard Catton, co-chair of the first State of the World Nursing report. At least one nurse is among the nine Covid-19 deaths officially reported in Cameroon. “We believe that the lack of PPE and the problems of supply is undoubtedly linked to the high infection rates and some of the deaths we have seen as well,” Catton said.
On Tuesday, the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres praised the courage and dedication of health workers on World Health Day. “Today, we are more deeply grateful than ever to all of you, as you work, around the clock, putting yourselves at risk, to fight the ravages of this pandemic,” he said.