2017: a year of change, part 1

Our senior Cameroonian colleague, Dr Francine Kouya returned from Cape Town to Mbingo Baptist Hospital (MBH) on May 2nd – after 2 years further training in childrens cancer medicine (paediatric oncology) at Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town.

Francine is now supervisor of paediatric oncology for the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Service (CBCHS). Our lead nurse, Glenn Mbah, completed an on-line Masters in Public Health at Roehampton, London – partly financed by Beryl Thyer Trust (BTMAT) – and has been appointed programme manager. Francine and Glenn are now in overall charge of the childrens cancer treatment programme at the 3 CBC hospitals. They will need our support as they attempt to treat an ever wider spectrum of cancers and the workload increases dramatically! We (BTMAT and World Child Cancer) have invested heavily in the further training of our Cameroonian colleagues especially our nurses – a sound investment for the future of paediatric oncology in Cameroon.

Our We Care Parent Home at MBH opened in May with a ceremony marked by much joyful prayer and thanksgiving. I was asked to join the senior administrator, Richard Nji in cutting one of the ribbons. There are traditional firewood kitchens for mothers in a separate block behind the hostel.  One of the hospital nutritionists calls weekly to teach mothers the nutritional value of local foodstuffs and how best to prepare them. We (BTMAT) have agreed to support the salary of a full-time primary school teacher for all the children (oncology ward and We Care home).  This parent home is a first for Cameroon and means that mothers who previously camped out in the hospital grounds now have a place to stay with their child between chemotherapies.  In pidgin English the name We Care translates “We de Lookout”.

Opening of the We Care home, May 2017: Glenn (3rd from left) and Dr Francine (4th from left).

Opening of the We Care home, May 2017: Glenn (3rd from left) and Dr Francine (4th from left).

Paul Wharin, December  2017.

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