Restoring Dignity to Lives in Crisis Stricken communities of the Southwest Region of Cameroon
Crises of all types are channels for human beings to express their worst vices. It is also during these moments that human values such as solidarity, empathy, generosity and love are tested.
The two English speaking regions of Cameroon have witnessed an armed conflict since 2017; the Anglophone crisis, as it is commonly referred to, has had huge consequences in communities in every aspect of social life. Health facilities have been burnt down, workers have fled their work posts, entire villages have been razed down, leading to massive population displacement, loss of lives and properties, heightened levels of poverty, increased cases of both adult and children malnutrition, widespread insecurity, increased violence, numerous health hazards in embattled communities with no one to attend to.
It is in this gloomy context that the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services with funding from UNICEF through the Comprehensive Child Response Project (CCR) has embarked on a mission to restore dignity to the lives of the most vulnerable members of restive communities such as children, persons with disabilities and pregnant women, by meeting their basic health needs, educating them on hygiene and sanitation measures, building standard toilets and sources of potable water where possible.
Nanje Sharon is a one-year-old girl who, as many in her community, has felt the brunt of the crisis due to the displacement of her parents and the resulting loss of their livelihood. Nanje was identified by community health workers during outreach in a remote area within the Mutengene community. She was diagnosed with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and was immediately referred to the Baptist Hospital Mutengene for proper management. At identification, Sharon was a pitiable sight to behold, as one could confuse her for a mini human skeleton. Her bones and ribs were all exposed. The extreme weight loss had sapped her of all her strength and she had no energy left to smile, nor to play as children of her age. To cover up and hide her predicament, Sharon’s mother always carried her on her back. This, to the extent that her neighbours had no clue of the critical health condition of her child.
Upon identification, Sharon’s mother complied with the treatment plan and took her daughter to the hospital where appropriate treatment was administered. To ensure successful treatment outcomes, a weekly follow-up plan was designed, to which the mother-baby pair strictly adhered to.
Today, Sharon is full of life; she looks healthier and happier; she now smiles and plays with friends.
Sharon’s mother is grateful to CBCHS and UNICEF, for as she puts it, “they brought my beautiful daughter back to life.”