Cameroon, a country situated on the Gulf of Guinea, is predominantly a French speaking nation.
It is in this country that I first came to appreciate the concept of being a ‘Rural Doctor’. You see, many medical doctors prefer to leave in big cities or communities that have more than the basic amenities of life.
So when I came across the Twitter handle of Dr Sangwe, @TheRuralDtor I began to wonder if his works could be replicated across communities in Africa. His provides a model that works and measurable.
Meet Dr Sangwe;
I am Dr. Sangwe Clovis Nchinjoh, a practicing medical doctor in Cameroon. Living in rural communities has been quite revealing.
You meet people whose wellbeing is being challenged by poverty, ignorance, poor transportation means, few or no available health care providers and cultures that promote unhealthy behaviours.
I have watched kids die from preventable illnesses; seen pregnant women deliver at home; watched patients die at home out of ignorance or because they simply cannot afford basic health care services. Their tears have moulded me into what I am today – a Rural Doctor who is passionate about serving the vulnerable in rural communities.
In 2013, I founded a non-profit organisation that became fully operational in 2014 (The Medicz on Facebook, Twitter: @themedicz).
It was aimed at inspiring and empowering health care providers to identify health related problems in their communities and impact change.
With this great team, we were able to achieve the following:
- Empowered over 250 health oriented students on leadership, selflessness and capacity building.
- Reached out to over 2000 patients during our 7days and 3days health campaigns in six rural communities (Gungong, Bawok, Bali-Nyonga, Wosing, Mudeka and Bamunkumbit village) with free health care services ( medical consultation, laboratory investigations, sensitisation and screening for communicable and non-communicable diseases, and major and minor surgical interventions) .
- Screened over 1000 persons for HIV/AIDS
- Trained over 300 youths on basic first aid
- Successfully established active volunteer program for the promotion of volunteerism among health oriented students in Buea, Limbe and Bamenda with an average volunteer number of about 100 persons every year.
- Established an active volunteer program for health care providers to inspire and promote volunteerism (an average of 30 health workers available yearly).
For the past 2years it has been difficult to engage volunteers since we could not guarantee their safety (our activities where primarily in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon). So we had to temporarily shut down activities.
During this time, I use personal funds to visit communities and offer free health services such as sensitisation, medical consultation and antenatal consultation.
The smiles on their faces each time I attend to them is priceless and it taught me one thing: every rural community deserves as much care as urban communities. Their smiles motivated me to reassemble a team to re-establish our activities with motive to promote wellbeing and reduce number of deaths among vulnerable inhabitants (pregnant women, the elderly, children less than 5years of age, the poor, internally displaced, refugees) of rural areas through sensitization programs and health missions.
This will be the birth of a passionate team of health care providers called “Rural Doctors”. It is a non-profit, non-religious and apolitical organization that welcomes everyone in every works of life irrespective of race, colour, religion or nationality who is passionate about helping rural communities strive health wise.
My legacy will be to inspire health care providers to give back to poor rural communities.
If you like what Dr Sangwe and his team are doing, kindly reach out and engage them. Follow Dr Sangwe on Facebook and Twitter @TheRuralDtor for updates on our activities.
Rural Doctors! Help Them Stay Alive!
Thank You for your Support