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Cameroonian Teenage Mother Cries For Justice

Amidst the pain of hunger,intimidation from hospital staff and fear of the unknown ,17 year old Vanessa Tcatchou is still looming the premises of the gyneco -obstetric and pediatric hospital Ngousso ,a public hospital in Cameroon`s capital Yoaunde where she has been occupying a hospital bed for six months now.The teenage mother is pressing to know the where abouts of her new born baby girl.The baby was stolen from an incubator in the hospital ,24 hours after its birth on August 20 2011.Latest reports from Cameroon say.

Sources from the country reveal that ,the government for six months gave a deaf ear to Vanessa`s plea for justice.Reacting to an incessant pressure for justice from Cameroonians both at home and in the diaspora, Cameroon`s president Paul Biya passed a recent order calling for thorough investigation to be opened on this issue.The country`s communication minister in a press conference , early February declared the stolen baby dead and buried.Mean while other accounts hold that the baby is in the keeping of a female magistrate who claims to have adopted it in the Yaounde Central hospital on the 21st of August 2011,(one day after the theft of Ms Tchatchou`s baby.)Reports say the Magistrate has refused to make the baby available for a DNA test.It is alledged that the adoption paper`s were signed by the country`s minister of social affairs.

Vanessa has received support from the population in the form of protest demonstrations which have only led to more suppression from police forces who keep dispersing the people through the use of threats.On the 10th of February a group of youths were arrested for staging a protest demonstration promising to peturb the holding of youth day festivities on the 11th if Vanessa`s baby is not produced.
Vanessa in an interview with the country`s local press says she has received several threats from the hospital staff especially from the nurses who keep on insulting her for wanting to rub the hospital`s name in mud.The 17 year old orphan says her life is in danger because she does not trust the hospital staff but she will not give up her actions untill the whereabouts of her baby is known.

According to Le Jour Newspaper,on the 24th of January 2012 two gendarmes of the Ngousso gendarmarie brigade conveyed Vanessa to the office of one of the high court presidents who tried to make the girl quit the hospital premises by intimidating her and her widowed mother.Unfortunately the 45 minutes encounter was abortive as she was determined to remain in the hospital.While Vanessa was out of the hospital for the meeting with the high court official, the hospital administration put another patient on her hospital bed and kept a hospital bill of 500.000FCFA (about 10000 dollars)for her at the hospital reception.
Vanessa is currently receiving support from many Cameroonians at home and abroad who think her actions are worth encouraging in the face of a government which has refused to render justice to helpless citizens like her.The incident is causing some unrest in the country
as allegations say women planning to boycott women day celebration come March 8 if nothing is done for justice to take its full course.


ikirimat's picture

Justice should be seen to be done

This story is very disheartening. I want to commend those that are working to ensure that Vanessa gets back her baby. It is so sad to note that those people who are supposed to protect us (patients vs medical workers ) are the very ones abusing others rights. It is Vanessa's right to know where her baby is and what happened to it. The Magistrate should be the person to produce the baby for DNA test!!! what an unfair world we leave in.

Thank you for being there for Vanessa

Grace Ikirimat

"It takes the hammer of persistence to drive the nail of success."

Leina's picture

Thank you Grace for joining

Thank you Grace for joining your voice to this cry for justice.It hurts to see the high and mighty have things their way while the poor and helpless are deprived of the right to cuddle and own their own offsprings.I wish the women of the world could come together and cry out for justice on behalf of the orphan Vanessa and her widowed mother.I appreciate your concern for Vanessa`s plight.

Okeny-Lucia's picture

She will be heard

Thank you Leina for this heart rending piece of story,as a health worker I am quite saddened that this scenario is cutting across nations.
I see a situation when the health system is dogged with corruption such vice is bound to happen.And that is why in my own small I have always told patients to know their rights,to fight for any form of malpractice,because it is their right to get the highest attainable standard of care.
A question comes in mind again,what kind of people do we take to the medical and nursing schools? Are we not as parents and guardians perpetuating corruption in health,when we force our children to be doctors and nurses when actually that is not what they wanted.
As they graduate from the schools they come to a world that is full of dissatisfied workforce,poor pay,environment and all that,for sure evil will prevail.
Vanessa is seeking justice it must be pushed to the highest level,as this goes on ,the root cause must also be sought so that it doesnt affect another person again.
Congratulations once again.

Lucia Buyanza
Reproductive Health

Leina's picture

Great Lucia, It gives me joy

Great Lucia,
It gives me joy to know people with your kind of heart are in the medical corp.Yes we need to press for change for Vanessa and girls like her all over the world.I dream of a day women will be one another`s keeper,when we shall carry one another`s burden and not collaborate to hurt or destroy ourselves.Lucia I will like us to collaborate for a lasting solution to this problem.Let`s discuss the way forward.
Best Wishes

nurcoco's picture

If there is anything we can do

little I can add, I subscribe what Grace says and Lucia!!
yes we have to get to the root so we can create a seed and spread it, and never more this things happen!!
I'm involved in it, my project has to do with this!!

Leina if there is anything we can do, please let us know!! I know that many little things get big results :)

Send her our support!!!

thanks so much for sharing!!

nuria g. puigarnau

Leina's picture

Dear Nuria, Yes we need to

Dear Nuria,
Yes we need to put our hands together not only for Vanessa but for other teenage girls like her all over the world.Let`s follow the trend of this story and if possible do a petition or strengthen Vanessa`s access to justice.

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