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Dear Family and Friends,
At the beginning of March, I traveled up from the coast to continue working in Mbingo Baptist Hospital with CIMS. An acronym for Christian Internal Medicine Specialization, the CIMS residency was spearheaded by Dr. Palmer a decade ago. Unlike her surgical counterpart, CIMS training continues despite the ongoing political uncertainty. In previous years, internists and subspecialists coming from abroad volunteered their services in Mbingo for a few weeks at a time to assist with training Internal Medicine residents. However, with the departure of Samaritan’s Purse and World Medical Mission last year, the number of available volunteers has dwindled. I’m trying to help fill this gap.
So long as the roads are open, patients continue to arrive at the hospital. Our wards have been quite full in the past weeks. We are, of course, thankful for those who come. One cannot conduct a training program without patients. Yet, the declaration of “ghost town” days and travel blockades has taken a serious toll on the economy of the Anglophone sector. The local economy has suffered to the point that many patients are unable to pay their hospital bills. This is one area where the Cameroon Relief Fund has literally brought ‘relief’ to patients and hospitals alike.
One patient we cared for recently is a young Fulani man by the name of Bouba. Pictured here with his parents, Bouba was found to have a large brain tumor obstructing the flow of CSF. While we had no means of removing the tumor, placement of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt helped to decompress the fluid accumulation within his brain and alleviate his headaches.
Bouba was brought by his parents for follow-up just before Easter. They were compelled to travel via a circuitous route on account of a bridge near their home which had been destroyed in the fighting. When seen by our Palliative Care nurse, Mercy, she shared with them that “Issa [the Koranic name for Jesus] go die fo’ we so we no go die again.” We can only pray that patients like Bouba and his parents will realize that hope.
With Gratitude, Julie