By Tata Mbunwe
Administrative officials in Meme Divisional Headquarter, Kumba, say they remain stunned by the largess of medical humanitarian organization, Doctors Without Borders after it offered equipment and services to the District Hospital worth FCFA 247 million.
At a ceremony in Kumba on Thursday, September 2, MSF handed over several pieces of equipment to the Kumba District Hospital authorities including a 165 KVA generator, 12,000 liters of water tanks, a washing machine, oxygen concentrators, patient monitors, solar energy in the operating room, vacuum aspirators, oxygen supply flow meters, blood pressure machines, waste segregation materials, metallic and wooden cupboards among several other items.
MSF’s Emergency Coordinator for the Southwest region, Zakaria Mwatia, said the equipment alongside the specialized services they have offered to the Kumba District Hospital amount to FCFA 247 million.
Stating that the donated equipment will improve the quality of healthcare to patients, the hospital’s Director, Dr. Paul Enongene, said “We cannot thank Doctors Without Borders enough.”
“It’s a pleasure for me to say here that, given the number of patients Doctors Without Borders has restored their health, they have given them wealth,” he said in a speech.
According to the Kumba City Mayor, Gregory Mewanu, the gesture by Doctors Without Borders is immeasurable generosity.
“I am overwhelmed with joy following an immeasurable, I will say, level of generosity which is so huge that it can bring one to doubt. Today in the morning I thought how people could be so good-hearted,” he told journalists.
To MSF, the recently-elected City Mayor said: “Thank you from those sick mamas who are being helped; thank you for the pregnant women who are enjoying comfort from their difficult moments of delivery thank you for those who have been attacked justly or unjustly by whatever situation…”
Medicin Sans Frontier (MSF) or Doctors Without Borders has been existing since 1971. It started operations in Cameroon’s North West and South West Regions in 2018 but now operates only in the South West after they were suspended from the North West In 2020.
With 97 trained community health workers in the South West Region, Doctors Without Borders says they conducted 852,600 consultations in 2021 among them 65,889 children who were screened for malnutrition.
They also delivered 810 pregnant women in the crisis region during that year and conducted 300 major surgeries alongside promptly intervening in thousands of health emergencies using their 24-hour free ambulance service.
This year, MSF says they have already done 75,255 consultations and 1,591 mental health consultations between January and June.
According to Zakaria Mwatia, MSF’s health interventions in the South West in 2020 amounted to FCFA 3 billion. He said the 2021 budget for the region has been scaled to 3.6 billion to meet up with the population’s desperate need for humanitarian help.
“Doctors Without Borders has made deliberate decisions to support the population in the South West in general, but in particular a big portion is going to the Kumba District Hospital,” Mwatia said.
“In many countries where we work with the ministry of health, we leave with the assurance that these facilities we install will live for a long time to support the local community __ our key principles being independence, neutrality, impartiality, and universal medical ethics”.
The NGO signed a one-year agreement with the Kumba District Hospital on 26 May this year, with the hospital having benefitted millions of francs of equipment and services from MSF since then.
“I was even thinking what are we going to give in return for all of these because the general human mind knows that you give to receive but when we find people who give and give and continue giving and they are not yet asking what they can get from us sometimes it can make one get uncomfortable but I think I am not because these are people who are just of good heart,” said Kumba City Mayor, Greg Mewanu.
Despite being suspended from the North West Region of Cameroon, Doctors Without Borders says they are committed to accompanying Cameroon’s health Ministry, MINSANTE, in healthcare provision.
The non-governmental organization, according to Zakaria Mwatia, has gained support from administrative officials in the South West region but needs more collaboration with port authorities in shipping its medical supplies.
Persistent ghost towns and separatist lockdowns in the South West regions also make it difficult for health workers to render emergency services.