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Laquintinie Hospital Director Clashes With Coffin, Wreath Dealers 

 Accuses Them of Killing Patients Psychologically


By Joe Dinga Pefok

Prof Louis Richard Njock, the new Director of Laquintinie Hospital Douala, has resisted the invasion of the surroundings of the hospital by coffin and wreath shops.

According Prof Njock, besides the disorder and unhygienic nature that the coffins dealers and drivers of hearses pose, the Medic said it is also psychologically disturbing to patients at the hospital.
“When Patients see the hospital surrounded by coffins, hearses and wreaths, they are psychologically disturbed and feared that they may die in the hospital. Such traumatic conditions complicate the healing process of some patients. The thought of hopelessness does not only psychologically affect a patient’s mind, but affects the treatment process as well.”

Laquintinie Hospital is the largest hospital in the Littoral Region and also has the biggest mortuary in the Region. Families of patients, who die in other health facilities in the Region without mortuaries, mostly used the Laquintinie Hospital mortuary.
Like in the Economics of nearness to the market, coffin dealers set up mostly makeshift structures for their stalls, while the drivers of hearses would line the sides of the road outside the hospital fence, often causing traffic jam.

If the former Directors of the Laquintinie Hospital condoned the invasion of the hospital surroundings by businessmen dealing in coffins, wreaths and hearses, Prof Njock would not accept such a situation under his watch. Barely a couple of weeks after taking over as Director of the Hospital, he filed a complaints to the Wouri SDO and the Government Delegate to the Douala City Council, complaining about the disorder nature in which businesses were operating around the hospital and the psychological impact of those businesses on patients.


Hearses Chased Away

On June 2, Wouri SDO, Naseri Paul Bea, led a team of workers from the Douala City Council, backed by a squad of armed gendarmes and policemen and stormed the area outside the Laquintinie Hospital.
The hearses were all chased away and the drivers warned not to come close to the hospital fence or the mortuary, except when the vehicles are hired by bereaved families to transport corpses.
As to the makeshift coffin shops outside the hospital fence, they were all destroyed by the Council workers.

However, since the SDO and the Douala City Council carried out the operation under the canopy of government’s fight against urban disorder, coffin shops that are in permanent structures or block houses could not be destroyed or ordered to leave.

A few of the coffin shops continue to operate in the area.
But the operation led by the SDO significantly reduced the number of coffin shops around the hospital.
When The Post visited the area on June 4, only five coffin shops were operating in buildings close to the hospital fence, while only one is located close to the gate of the mortuary.

It was observed on June 4 that hearses have not disappeared from the vicinity of the hospital as ordered. Many of the vehicles were seen packed in an adjacent street.
Meantime, it may not take long before they invade the area again.

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