St Theresa’s Catholic Health Centre - BUKOW
This is a small health centre at Bamessing. When we visited in 2010 there were only 3 staff working to cover a 24hr service – a nurse, a lab technician and a healthcare assistant. The conditions were basic and there were plans to bring electricity from the main road and the possibility of the local Fon (chief) providing some land to extend the centre.
In 2014 during our 40th anniversary celebrations, we returned with some basic supplies as a gift from Clinicare.
Sr Sheila (Archdiocesan Healthcare Coordinator) reported that she had been able to increase the number of staff a little and although they remained in the same building plans had been drawn to replace the structure to bring it in line with Ministry of Health standards, reduce maternal and child mortality and improve quality of care.
An application was submitted for Bamenda Funds for the new construction and this year (2015) we are providing over £14,000 towards the work with the assistance of an anonymous donor and the parish of St Joseph & Margaret Clitherow Bracknell.
St Martin de Porres Health Centre – WUM
|2010 Shower Block||2011 Shower block||2012 Laundry facility|
The toilet and shower block at this health centre (contributed to by Bamenda funds) is now completed and functioning. The nursing station (previously the washroom) was reorganised without need for further funds. Some on-going work aims to enclose the Health Centre and obtain a security guard to prevent so many patients leaving without paying their fees! Another current local project is aiming to build and equip a laundry facility (above right) and thereafter to improve the canteen area. Currently the parish hall lies within the Health Centre compound. Ideally, the matron would like this to change since she feels it is too disruptive and noisy for patients. Her hope would then be to turn the hall structure into a canteen and children’s area. This requires liaison with the parish.
During our 40th anniversary visit in 2014, we were able to see the new incubator purchased with funds which were raised collaboratively by Clinicare and a youth group in Christchurch.
In 2015, a project has been started to improve the water supply to the health centre. The Health Centre is applying for £930. Two personal donations have already been received to contribute towards this.
NJINIKOM HOSPITAL AND PROJECT HOPE
A large and impressive hospital, Bamenda Funds has in the past contributed towards the maternity & surgical building (above), the laboratory and the Dream Van (below) which distributes the IV fluids and eye ointments made on site. Sr Olive is Matron here.
St Colman with St Paul parish in Cosham / Paulsgrove is twinned with the Hospital and sends regular donations from their monthly penny bucket collections. These funds are currently being used to construct a building (above right) which will include a patient’s kitchen where relatives can produce meals for their family who are unwell.
Project Hope (based at the hospital) is an outreach project now supporting more than 1,900 clients, offering psycho-education, HIV testing, counselling and treatment. They use community volunteers and peer educators in the workforce. Work in the treatment centre had stopped when we arrived in 2012 as there were NO drugs left. They had seen over 300 patients in the first 23 days of that year.
Project Hope staff work inside a container and a few rooms in the hospital.
They would like a building in which they could centralise their office, lab, youth centre, counselling rooms, treatment centre and dispensary and an out-patient hall for teaching.
When we visited in 2014 for the anniversary visit, Matron however needed to prioritise the building of a new building for HIV / TB patients with a unit for specialised care (photo right).
There are two potential sources of funding for this (US and a Mill Hill father). If these do not complete the funding then she would be looking to Bamenda Funds for the funding for this rather than Project Hope’s building.
The Cathedral adopted Project Hope’s youth education project as their special advent collection in 2013 – even Fr James McAuley abseiled down the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth to raise funds. Project Hope has also received support from Hampshire Downs and Christ the King parishes and an anonymous donor.
During the anniversary visit, members of Clinicare presented a cheque for £1000 for HIV test kits and supplies (left).
St Patrick’s Health Centre Babanki-Tungo
In recent years, the local community in collaboration with the Healthcare Coordinator and Bamenda Funds have extended this rural health centre from a single block to 3 wings. It is now being run by the ‘Sisters of the Cross’. One doctor visits for monthly consultations.
Last year Clinicare International (a small local charity working as a health arm of the Bamenda link) was successful in obtaining a grant for £7,500 from the Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission to fund a generator and air conditioning unit for the operating theatre. Clinicare also provided the centre with operating theatre instrument kits for routine operations. This year (2015) Bamenda Funds are contributing £1000 to paint the new structure.
St John of God Health Centre – BATIBO
This health centre submitted an application in 2014 for 6 hospital beds and a laboratory incubator to aid diagnosis. Clinicare adopted and supported this project in full.
Diocesan Healthcare Co-ordinator & HIV group Facilitator
Sr Sheila McElroy was overseeing the healthcare facilities for the Archdiocese. Her contract has ended in 2015 and after 33 years serving in Bamenda she has returned to her order in Ireland. Emelda Kuh has been appointed to take over her position. There are ongoing difficulties associated with the general supply of medicines in the country which provides challenges for the health facillities.
A support group for people with HIV which Sr Sheila co-facilitated with Pa Nsom (Fr Bern’s father) is aiming to continue. The group support each other well with income generating activities and advice and support on healthy daily living. They speak movingly of their gratitude for our help through Bamenda Funds.
SAJOCAH – Bafut
Saint Joseph’s Rehabilitation Centre for Children and Adults with Disabilities. The matron is Sr Judith Bih, of the Tertiary Sisters of St. Francis (TSSF)
The walkway and railings (right) were built many years ago with the support of our funds to help the children get around under shelter as they practise their rehabilitation exercises.
The nuns who run the centre would like to develop a building to use for people who have suffered from strokes. They are eager to have a quiet area for the adult patients away from the noise and bustle of the remainder of the centre which accommodates and rehabilitates the children with disabilities.
They have no funding currently secured for their plans and no present resources for staffing such an area although this was not perceived to be a problem. The centre welcomes volunteers with appropriate skills.
St Theresa’s Medical Health Centre – Bafut
In 2010, Bamenda Funds assisted with £5000 to improve the water supply. Reports since then report that the well is functioning but needs cleaning every year and that there is still water shortage during the dry season.
They have ambitious plans to upgrade the health centre to a hospital and move their small and leaky out-patient dept into the main hospital.
Baba 1 Health Centre
This is a Health Centre of 32 beds, 9 staff, 3 SRNs. Run by the La Sante Union (LSU) sisters. Matron, a lay person, had been there for 15yrs (and remembered Intercare and Clinicare medicines arriving in the past).
They have a doctor practicing every day and a surgeon will perform operations but their machine for monitoring patient vital signs during surgery is not operational and so they monitor these manually.
They too have a broken Incubator (Thermostat problems) and were planning to contact the supplier. They reported problems getting medicines (as everywhere) and now find it very difficult, with insufficient supplies coming from the central dispensary.
We informed them that Clinicare (Portsmouth Diocese) and Intercare (an organisation in Leicester) continue to try to import medicines charitably but struggle with safe and reliable transport routes, corruption and bureaucracy.
St Blaise Health Centre – Mankon
Matron: Sr Lillian (Order of St Therese)
This health centre lies within the Cathedral compound and has 40 beds although not all were fully occupied.
There is an Operating Theatre staffed by a Dr with 2 years surgical experience (but has no qualified surgeon) and there is 1 other permanent doctor (Congolese) practicing daily.
The centre has 3 qualified nursing staff (1 per shift with 4 assistants), a Maternity dept (staffed separately) and an Out-Patient Dept with approx 500 patients seen per month. £3000 of Bamenda Funds has already been granted to this establishment. There are hopes that this facility could in the future be extended. Initially they are hoping to develop an eye clinic.
La Verna HIV/ Aids group
We visited La Verna Convent during 2012 but unfortunately, due to communication problems they had been unaware of our visit and were not expecting us. La Verna functions as a retreat centre. The HIV group had been taken over by someone new and so we were unable to get any clear feedback on the project. We were told that they were submitting an application for financial assistance to run health education seminars and support groups (none has as yet been received).
The nuns at the convent also spoke about having received 2million cfas for ABEF funds. They are aware of orphans living with extended families who have difficulty paying the children’s school fees. The sisters identify which families are most in need and facilitate access to the funds but always insist on a contribution. Fr Anthony suggested that the small Christian communities could help with the identification of those who were struggling. Bamenda Funds regularly support the Archbishop’s Education Fund through the Education category.