Wide-reaching precautionary measures have been adopted across the Cameroon plantations and their neighbouring communities in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. We recognise our role in bringing accessible healthcare and hygiene standards to the plantation communities, and are continuously working to better protect our employees and their families. In line with governmental and World Health Organisation recommendations, these strategies are assessed daily by a team comprising delegates, Village Heads, the Ministry of Health, FCB, teachers and security service providers.
A rigorous awareness campaign has been conducted to highlight symptoms and preventative measures, with key information shared via multiple channels to ensure its effectiveness. As the most rapid form of communication, the teams are harnessing SMS to regularly send bulk updates to all employees. This adds to the megaphone announcements and the informative posters placed in higher footfall areas.
To ensure that questions and concerns are answered, on-site medical staff have partnered with Red Cross representatives and the Environment, Health & Safety team to engage with people within and beyond the plantations.
Kits of soap and disinfectants have been distributed to employees and surrounding villages to encourage diligent hygiene practices, whilst we are presently disinfecting all villages and communal buildings twice weekly. Additionally, any incoming vehicles are both internally and externally disinfected before being placed in temporary quarantine.
To better protect the health of our teams, employees’ body temperatures are monitored daily as a test for symptoms, and hand-washing is mandatory every 4 hours across all work and living areas. Unnecessary movement or overcrowding is also discouraged through evening curfews, shortened working hours, work-from-home where possible and newly painted ground markers that help facilitate social distancing.
The plantations are well equipped with healthcare facilities, offering 23 dedicated medical dispensaries and 2 fully operational hospitals. These have been supplemented with an abundance of medicine, hygiene supplies and protective equipment, as prescribed by the Cameroon Ministry of Public Health. In case of quarantine, fully functional isolation treatment centres have been established for up to 200 people to ensure that patients are treated without risk to the wider community.
Our awareness campaigns and precautionary measures extend to the neighbouring communities as our the Sensitisation & Hygiene team work in tandem with the District Hospital to ensure a steady flow of communication with the Village Chiefs and local residents . To ensure that communication reaches wider numbers, we have partnered with the local radio station to air essential updates. We are also distributing soap and disinfectant locally, and assisting with the delivery of materials to the district hospitals.
We have excellent support from local villages who provide fresh fruit and vegetables to supplement our newly coordinated home delivery system of food and basic amenities; this system ensures that our employees and their families are well fed during this period of limited movement. In anticipation of a full lock-down, the teams have stored enough food and other daily essentials across both concessions. Fuel has also been prioritised, with a delivery bringing in 100,000 litres of fuel in reserve.