A senior Cameroonian government official who has been on the frontline of the fight against the deadly coronavirus pandemic has died of an undisclosed illness.
Alim Garga Hayatou, Secretary of State in the Cameroon Ministry of Public Health in charge of epidemics and pandemics, died in a hospital in the capital, Yaoundé on Monday, the Prime Minister’s office announced in a statement.
The 75-year-old had served as a member of government for 23 years, becoming one of the longest-serving members of government in the country.
“Mr Alim Hayatou had served Cameroon with dedication, commitment and loyalty as member of government,” the Prime Minister said in a condolence message to the deceased’s family.
He had been crisscrossing the country to evaluate the effectiveness of the Covid-19 pandemic response since the government put in place measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus last year.
Mr Hayatou’s last public appearance was last week in Yaoundé when the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) donated medical equipment to the Health ministry to help in the fight against Covid-19.
Mr Hayatou who was also a traditional ruler—Lamido of Garoua in the North region of the country—was the president of the Council of Traditional Rulers of Cameroon.
He is the second member of the Biya government to have died in active service within one month.
Earlier last month, Adoum Gargoum died in Yaoundé. Until his demise, Mr Gargoum was Minister Delegate at the Ministry of External Relations in charge of relations with the Islamic world.