Cameroon Medical Missions
The Cameroon Medical Mission (CMM) is an initiative that contributes in a sustainable way, to tackling the problem of poor health care provision in Cameroon. It sees collaboration and capacity building as critical cornerstones of the work it does, and it intends for its work to impact not just on Cameroon, but on Africa as a whole.
The Goal of Cameroon Medical Missions is to improve health care provision for under-served and disadvantaged Communities in Cameroon. To achieve this, it has adopted the following programmes:
- Donation of medical supplies and equipment to community hospitals and health centres in mostly rural and under-served parts of Cameroon.
- Health education and health promotion campaigns.
- The promotion of skills exchange between health institutions and initiatives based abroad and those based in Cameroon.
- Supporting surgical procedures which are carried out by indigenous surgeons as well as surgeons from the diaspora, in under-served communities in Cameroon.
- The provision of general medical clinics staffed by local physicians and health workers and supported by diaspora health personnel.
Originally the aim of CMM was to simply donate equipment and supplies to hospitals and clinics so that patients could be treated free of charge. It was ultimately realized that simply donating equipment and medicines and walking away presented with problems.
That approach was not sustainable, ensuring proper use of the equipment was problematic, and outcome was hard to measure. CMM therefore changed its strategy to incorporate personnel by building a team of medical professionals who are able to visit Cameroon and actually use the equipment and supplies donated. This is very unique because CMM is putting into use some of the materials being donated. CMM has also adopted an evaluation strategy, and will be evaluating the initiative after the 2011 mission (July/August 2011).
The 2011 Cameroon Medical Mission will be stationed in the City of Limbe in the South West Region of Cameroon. The Mission will serve various communities in the South West Region including Tiko, Buea, Nguty, Lebialem, Manyemen and Limbe.
The South West Region especially the city of Limbe has been hard hit by the recent cholera outbreak in Cameroon. The region is also very poorly served as far as health care provision is concerned. Hospitals and health centres are operating without basic equipment, and are generally not functioning optimally due to lack of resources. For this reason, patients are not receiving the care they need unless they are able to afford private health care which can be very costly.
The Cameroon Medical Mission 2011 is a huge collaborative effort. The African Women's Development Foundation Inc. (www.awdfusa.org) and Hope Floats Initiative (www.hopefloatsinitiative.org) struck a formal Partnership to lead the 2011 Cameroon Medical Mission. Both organizations have been engaged in medical mission work, AWDF in Cameroon and HFI in Nigeria. The partnership was struck because of a shared vision and the need to build capacity for both organizations. HFI has an International Mission Team headed by Dr. Simeon Afolayan; He and his team of surgeons will be joining the Cameroon Medical Mission in July 2011 to perform minor surgeries such as hernia repairs, lumpectomies and more.
CMM is working hand in hand with MedShare International to procure Medical Supplies and equipment and the mission has been blessed with a huge sponsorship from one of MedShare's corporate donors which helped to make the mission possible. CMM reached out to the Limbe Sister City Association of Seattle Washington and they were happy to come on Board to join the mission because their interest is to help the City of Limbe and CMMs Mission fits very well into their programs. They have also been raising funds to support the mission. CMM made a special appeal to cultural groups and associations based in the United States whose goals include helping the needy communities back home in Cameroon and it asked them to join the mission and sponsor hospitals and health centres by collaborating with CMM. CMM is proud to declare that it will be supporting the Limbe, Tiko, Buea, Nguty, Lebialem and Manyemen communities as a result of success achieved from reaching out to these groups.
CMM is dedicated and committed to working with other organizations to bring help to people who need it, with a network that spans across the United States of America, from Atlanta to Houston, to the Washington Metro area. CMM will continue to build a strong network that will lead it to become one of the most respected initiatives powered by African/Cameroonian Professionals to serve its people. CMM is grateful to all donors and sponsors of CMM because without them, the mission will never be realized.
As a result of collaboration and working together with other organizations, what started as the Limbe Medical Mission has become the Cameroon Medical Mission, with a much larger remit. The Mission will travel around Cameroon and provide assistance, one region at a time with the help of its partners and supporters.
CMM's greatest challenge has been finance. The economic crisis has hit non-profit organizations really hard and CMM have felt the effects from the slow responses it is getting from donors that in the past would readily make contributions. As a result CMM has had to adopt a patient and innovative approach to its fund raising strategies. CMM has shied away from throwing fund raising parties and has instead gone for small power networking sessions where its guests could learn about the mission and freely donate to the cause whilst networking. This has proved successful because CMM's costs are minimal and whatever funds raised does not go towards paying for an elaborate party. CMM is also working on some innovative strategies which incorporate social networking with fund raising and will be unveiling those plans soon. CMM will continue seeking grants from major grant making institutions whilst still working closely with its close friends and people in its network who are passionate about the cause and really want to help.
There is usually a slow response time with communicating with officials in Cameroon to set up a mission. Sometimes it takes numerous phone calls and emails to get things moving. Internet access is not readily available and this makes it difficult to get instant responses to speed up the process. Communication is an important part of this project and if it is slow, it kind of slows down the project too.
For the Cameroon Medical Mission to succeed, it needs professionals with a medical background to come on board and donate a little bit of their time to move its agenda forward. Having said that, CMM also needs non-health care Professionals who want to make a difference in health care to join the effort, as there is plenty to do by way of working together to achieve necessary impact. CMM is an initiative that is very open and focused on results.
Lady Kate Atabong Njeuma
Lady kate Atabong Njeuma is president and founder of the Africa Womens Development Foundation inc. (www.awdfusa.org). She is also contact person for Cameroon Medical Missions (CMM).
Phone: +1 2404402166
- CMM's mission to Cameroon in 2011!, January 22nd 2014
- Two teams of Cameroon medical personnel from USA, January 31th 2014