LAP Bridging Access to Health Care Gap in Underserved Communities
The inhabitants of Bapi, a locality in the West Region of Cameroon have greeted with much satisfaction the services of the Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) Health Services’ Life Abundant Primary Health Care (LAP) program. This was at the close of a two-day Health Fair in that community from November 15-16, 2019.
During the Health Fair the LAP Team made up of the Screeners, ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat), WHP (Women’s Health Program), KYN (Know Your Numbers), and Mental Health and Eye Care staff screened over a 1000 people for various health problems.
The goal of the Health Fair was to create awareness on the importance of community health as well as encourage and promote healthy lifestyles. Mr. Kakute Peter, LAP Administrator says the health fair was a huge success. “I was impressed with the turnout of the population to seek medical care in this fair. One of our overall objectives of promoting good health, wellness and disease prevention in this community would not have been met if the population did not turn out in their numbers as they did; to listen to health education and to be screened for various health conditions” he said. Mr. Kakute added that “The success of this fair was thanks to the collective support and inputs the LAP team. Hence I want to thank all the staff who were a part of this campaign”.
The Eye Care Team besides screening for eye defects gave out glasses to those diagnosed with presbyopia (the inability of the eye to focus on nearby objects due to aging) to ease reading and seeing nearby objects.
Ann Mamdom, 51-year old, Bapi inhabitant had difficulties reading and identifying nearby objects for over three years today. After receiving a pair of direct readers (reading glasses), she rejoiced, “I can now read with ease again! I want to thank the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services and Bapi Primary Health Center for this donation.” The smile on her face spoke volumes of the impact the glasses will have in her day to day life hereafter.
From the city center in Bafoussam to Bapi is about 12 Km (kilometers) on an earth road with potholes making it difficult to transport a critically ill person for medical attention in town. Therefore initiatives like that of LAP to organize health campaigns besides operating a primary health center in Bapi is a move aimed at attaining health care for all, which is a basic and fundamental human.
Mr. Wandom Benard, Chief of Bapi-Ndobi and Health Committee Chairperson retrospect that it was an uphill task in the past when a community member was ill and there was no health facility to come to their aid. “We had to struggle and transport the person to the Bafoussam Regional Hospital which is far off from here. It was really difficult.” But today, “we are very happy to have a health center right at our doorsteps. We do thank the Cameroon Baptist Convention and partners for bringing this center to Bapi,” he said.
One of the most common diseases people present with at Bapi Primary Health Center is Malaria. Mr. Kilih Gamaliel Ngong, Screener says malaria is still a major health concern in this community due to the lots of bushes that favour the breeding of mosquitoes. Conscious of this “we have embarked on health awareness towards malaria prevention; by sensitizing inhabitants on the need to keep their surroundings clean, dispose of waste and maintain personal hygiene,” he said.
Strong community health requires that inhabitants look beyond themselves and take collective efforts to maintain and own health systems (facilities) put in place. It is in this light that Mr. Kakute Peter, LAP Administrator re-echoed the call on the population to utilize services offered at the health center. “This primary health center will only be upgraded to an integrated health center when its services here are fully utilized,” he stressed.
It is worth stating that the recent health fair is inconsonant with LAP’s mission of glorifying God by promoting knowledge of His saving grace by teaching sustainable spiritual, physical and emotional health. The two-day health fair was under the theme, “Staying Healthy Today and Tomorrow is My Determination”.