The horrors of war and domestic conflicts are not new to those who have lived through them. With the advent of social media, it is easy to come across its consequences. Far from social media are those who experience these atrocities firsthand. Such is the case of CBCHS’ Humanitarian Response team, whose leader, Mme Maureen Ful, was awarded for Bravery and Outstanding performance.
This award, by the Director of Health Services, Prof. Tih Pius, “has boosted our morals. We are happier, stronger and more determined,” affirmed Mme Maureen. The event was the 2021 CBC Health Services Chiefs of Center meeting that held in Mvan, Yaounde recently.
It will be very easy for a bystander to posit the reasons for such recognition. Their Comprehensive Child Response Programme, funded by UNICEF, began in May to be terminated in December 2021. Its aim is to respond comprehensively to the needs of children in the two crisis-stricken zones, North West and South West Regions of Cameroon. In their quest to offer basic health services ranging from vaccination campaigns, malnutrition prevention, fight against COVID-19 and WASH services, the Humanitarian Response team encounters life-and-death situations daily.
Embarking on a trip to Kumbo and its surrounding villages, they are met with hostile summons and questioning from both state and non-state armed forces. With both sides accusing the team of working for the other and being held at check points for long hours, it was never certain if they would continue their trip alive or be caught in cross fires. It was common to encounter about twelve non state armed control posts from Kumbo to Mbiami, one of the villages requiring attention.
The uncertain surge of violence and terrible roads could not stop the team from attending to vulnerable populations characterized by acute malnutrition, absence of portable water and latrines and children who have not been to school for four years. Communities with no rule of law, with disturbing rates of gender-based violence and where families spend their time in bushes and return to empty or burnt homes with nothing to eat or live by.
“With the pat on our backs through this award, we are not overwhelmed by the challenges and we encourage the populations to help one another, be conscious that we are in a crisis and be prepared for any eventualities,” says Mme Maureen. The crisis may no longer have the devastating effects on the population of the city, but it remains a reality in the villages.