Since this odyssey began, we have been waiting for adequate material to be sent to us for the protection of healthcare personnel and patients. According to the authorities the material is in Malabo, but that is something that fellow health workers in Malabo deny. So, while the government has informed of local transmissions in Malabo and Bata — meaning that Covid-19 is already among us —the doctors, those of us in the front line, have no way of adequately protecting ourselves.
In any case, until early last week we were using gloves, masks, and disinfectant remaining from the fight against Ebola, when our government decided to organize the Africa Cup of Nations. We have used them all. There is no more protective gear at the moment. This lack of gear constitutes our greatest complaint and fear.
Right now, there are only four cars available in the hospital to transport patients and work equipment, so some staff offer their own cars to the hospital, for free or in exchange for gas.
Health workers are not being paid for the hours dedicated to this work, and it is not clear that this will change. At the end of the third week of this campaign, they gave us 40,000 CFAs (60 Euros). That amount doesn’t even cover half the rent of social housing.
Finally, there is no food or water for the teams that go to the field. We go to work at 8:00 in the morning, without a clear idea of when we will be finished. Some health workers have stayed collecting samples until the early hours of the morning. And yet, we hear that government authorities are taking home the water bottles donated by companies for health workers.