Written by Tah Peter Fomonyuy
A mental health volunteer from England, Lyn Suddards has spent time building Life Abundant Primary Healthcare Programme (LAP) staff capacities during her four weeks stay in Bamkikai. On May 4, 2015, she met with health promoters whom she trained for two days in recognizing signs and symptoms of common forms of mental illnesses. This completed the basic training of all LAP health promoters in this area.
Over the next three weeks, Lyn met with Rev Dr. Ndongndeh Godlove, Director of the CBC Health Services’ Community Counseling Clinic (CCC) and Centre for Clinical Pastoral Education and Social Services (CECPES) to arrange to undertake a presentation for healthcare staff in Bamenda about alcohol dependency and the role of Alcoholics Anonymous in its treatment. She equally visited Banso Baptist Hospital (BBH) where she met with Mental Health staff, Social Workers, Chaplains and the Administrator. She later made presentations in Bamenda on May 10 and in Banso Baptist Hospital (BBH) on May 19.
Following Lyn’s presentations at the seminar in Bamkikai, the LAP Chaplain and Social Worker worked with the LAP Administrator, Mr. Kakute Peter to organise a presentation specifically for people known to have problems with alcohol. As a result of the presentation that was crowned by a lovely meal, six of the participants are poised to form a group of alcoholics anonymous. To them, this could be a loving and respectful experience.
The only English speaking group of alcoholics was therefore founded on May 16, 2016 and all members have remained sober since that evening. “They believe this to be a miracle. We have held intensive sessions to study the 12 step recovery progress and this will continue to meet Saturdays at 5pm at LAP. This will be open to others later in June,” Lyn explained.
Another important aspect of Lyn’s stay has been the continuous to development of the working relationship between LAP and the new CBC Health Services Mental Health team led by Anya Nadege. This time, she carried out seven mental health assessments in Kumbo, Bamdzeng, Oku, Kitomen, and Vekovy. Two of the assessments were jointly carried out by Lyn and CBC Health Services Mental Health Nurses. She remarked that the Mental Health team is doing a brilliant job whilst understaffing and the lack of a mental health admission ward are some of the challenges.
Lyn spent quality time in both Kitomen and Njinijou where she met with the Village Health Committees to take forward the water project which is sponsored by her home church, St. Mary’s Ashford, Kent, UK. Plans are to help to provide running water to the PHCs. She visited and acquainted herself with the site of the spring where the pipe borne water will be tapped.
Lyn Suddards has been volunteering her services to LAP since 2014. She makes annual visits that last as long as two to four weeks. She has been very instrumental in building capacities of LAP Village Health Promoters who are now able to identify and refer mental health cases to the Family Care Centre (FCC) of the CBC Health Services