By Bongkung Handerson
French Ambassador to Cameroon, H.E Gilles Thibaut has expressed satisfaction at the commitment of the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services (CBCHS) in providing quality health care to Cameroonians irrespective of class. The French Ambassador was speaking in Mbingo Baptist Hospital (MBH) on Thursday, June 6, 2017 within the context of his 2-day (June 5-6) official visit to the Northwest region to supervise projects supported by French funds.
The CBC signed a partnership agreement with the Agence Francaise de Developpement (A FD) in 2014 in which the CBCHS took a soft loan to finance nine major projects to upgrade her health care infrastructure and to procure specialized medical equipment for some of her key health facilities across the country. As a beneficiary of the AFD funding, it was logical that the French Ambassador visit the CBCHS and have first-hand knowledge on the progress of the projects.
The gorgeous MBH new OPD stood out tall such that H.E Gilles Thibaut gave reason why France is interested in the CBCHS. He said in a country where the civil society provides 40 percent health care to the population, it is necessary to work with a trusted one as the CBCHS. The French Ambassador was amazed to know that CBCHS hospitals and health centres saw over one million patients in 2016. Commenting on the quality work done on the MBH new OPD, H.E Gilles Thibaut said the CBCHS’ example should be copied as best practice elsewhere in the country.
A guided tour of some key units of the hospital gave the French Ambassador an insight of the diversity of Mbingo Baptist Hospital. At the ICU and surgical ward in particular, the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Acha Evaristus and Director of the Christian Internal Medicine Specialization (CIMS) programme, Dr. Dennis Palmer provided answers to the concerns of the Ambassador. For instance, the Ambassador was told that 60 percent of patients coming to MBH are from all over Cameroon and beyond. MBH, they went on, has over 300 beds, 14 Specialist Doctors, 24 General Practitioners and a staff strength of close to 1000.
In his welcome address, the Director of Health Services (DHS), Prof. Tih Pius Muffih saluted Franco-Cameroon partnership, which fall-out is the involvement of the CBCHS. The DHS presented to the French Ambassador and his entourage the services of the CBCHS as a department of the CBC, which spans over 60 years. He said the mission of the CBCHS is being accomplished through 7 Hospitals, 30 Integrated Health Centres, 54 Primary Healthcare Centres, a Pharmaceutical procurement and distribution department, a Training School for Health Personnel, Residency Training programmes for Surgery and Internal Medicine, Services for Persons with Disabilities, a comprehensive AIDS Care and Prevention programme, a Non-Communicable Diseases programme, a Malaria Control programme, Integrated Schools for the Blind and Deaf, a Centre for Clinical Pastoral Education and Social Services, a Community Counseling Clinic and many more. At the moment, the DHS noted, the CBCHS operates in 6 out of the 10 regions of Cameroon.
The DHS informed the French Ambassador that being one of the key healthcare providers in Cameroon, the CBCHS continues to grapple with the challenges of providing quality healthcare to Cameroonians, many of whom are poor and unable to pay for their healthcare. Like Oliver Twist, the DHS solicited for more support from the French Government in order to continue to expand and improve on the quality of healthcare in Cameroon. Prof. Tih requested H.E Gilles Thibaut to “Please, come back again. Mbingo is your hospital”.
Other speakers at the colourful ceremony included Mayor Tosam Bernard of Belo Council, who declared that the CBCHS is a credible partner that deserves more support to achieve more, the representative of the CBC Executive President, Rev. Ngalla Godlove who said the new OPD will bring comfort and precipitate healing for the hurting patients and Mrs. Acha Zita, who presented a gift of a traditional regalia to the French Ambassador on behalf of the staff of MBH. Rev. Dr. Ndongndeh Godlove prayed to dedicate the MBH new OPD to the glory of God.
Speaking to the press, the DHS, Prof. Tih Pius said the new OPD structure will greatly solve the challenge of space for many departments in the hospital. It will also provide offices for the doctors and the administration.
The French Ambassador’s 2-day visit in the NW region began with a courtesy call on the Governor, the Senior Divisional Officer for Mezam and the Government Delegate to Bamenda City Council. These civil authorities briefed the French Ambassador on the obnoxious practice of human trafficking in the region. He later visited the Bafut Fon’s Palace, Ndop, IRAD Bambui before coming to Mbingo Baptist Hospital where he left satisfied. H.E Gilles Thibault congratulated the CBCHS Central Administration Choir that sang both the French and Cameroon National Anthems to welcome him.