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On November 28, the hospital held a joint graduation ceremony for the graduating residents of both CIMS (Christian Internal Medicine Specialization) and PAACS (Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons). It was a celebratory time wherein CIMS graduated two Internal Medicine physicians and PAACS graduated one surgeon. Our CIMS graduates have been posted to two large hospitals in the cities of Douala and Mutengene, where there is need for Internal Medicine help and oversight.
Commensurate with the departure of our graduates at the end of December, we welcomed five new first-year residents at the beginning of the year. On January 28, exactly two months following the graduation pictured, the hospital held a White Coat Ceremony for the incoming residents: a total of five for CIMS and three for PAACS.
The White Coat Ceremony serves as an opportunity for new residents to be formally inducted into residency training. During this brief program, residents recited the Christian Physician’s Oath. In doing so, each resident, while acknowledging the sanctity of human life, pledged to honor and care for every patient as one made in the image of God. This concluded with faculty being called up to lay hands on the residents as the head chaplain led the group in prayer.
For the month of January, I’ve been working with one of the new residents, Dr. Antione, on Women’s Ward. We paired Dr. Antione with an upper-level resident – who was encouraged to teach her younger protégé. It has been interesting to observe the two of them interact. Dr. Antione received his training in a Francophone medical school and so is faced with the dual challenge of trying to apprehend the complexities of Internal Medicine while dealing with a second language.
One of the most treasured times with the residents is our Tuesday morning Bible study. Having recently completed the book of Genesis, we have turned our attention to Exodus. Chapter 1 of Exodus records the names of two Hebrew midwives who were faithful to God: Shiphrah and Puah. These women feared God more than they did the Egyptian Pharaoh. Their actions were used of Him to save a nation. This was the text for the graduation charge offered by our oncologist, Dr. Francine Kouya, to last year’s graduates. While it is true that Cameroon has serious problems, not the least of which is a civil war, only the Lord knows what can be wrought through one or two individuals wholly committed to Him.
We are in an academic setting – using Harrison’s Textbook of Internal Medicine – the standard for many western Internal Medicine residencies. We are trying to embrace many new advances and technologies, some of which are not available to us in Africa. In the midst of the pressures of an academic program, our hope is that graduates and residents alike will recognize that the message of the cross, referred to in 1 Corinthians as “foolishness” in the eyes of a broken world, is our only hope
- For success of the new group of first year residents – and in particular one who struggles with English.
- For the ongoing political tensions in the Northwest and Southwest Regions, which – due to random declarations of “ghost town” – are making it difficult for patients to reach the hospital.
- On a personal note, I am heartbroken over the unexpected and sudden loss of a very dear uncle on January 13. Uncle Harold was instrumental in handling my domestic issues sufficiently to make it possible to remain in Cameroon. After discussion with my Aunt Frances, we concluded that, due to travel restrictions related to COVID-19, the prospect of returning to the U.S. on short notice was not feasible. I covet prayers for my aunt and their children.
- For the successful graduation of two Internal Medicine residents last year.
- For the relative relief from Sars-CoV-2 in December – with no documented cases that month. While January has met us with a resurgence of disease, we remain grateful that coronavirus has not caused the havoc originally anticipated for sub-Saharan Africa.
Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world
1 CORINTHIANS 1:20 (NIV)
BANSO BAPTIST HOSPITAL, PO BOX 9, NSO, NORTHWEST REGION CAMEROON, WEST AFRICA