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15th Mission CAMEROON

On the 16th of January 2015 a five member team traveled from Athens to Douala in Cameroon. The purpose of the mission was the medical attendance of the population of rural areas in the district of Katrang, in the north-eastern part of the country. On the 17th, the team moved by air to the city of Maroua and then continued by car to Katrang district - a 3.5 hour drive. In Maroua, necessary provisions were purchased, that is bottled water and some local food stuff for the team and also for the 4 soldiers, who were assigned to escort the team during the entire duration of the mission. The escorting by a fully equipped team of commandos was considered absolutely necessary because of terrorist actions in the Nigerian-Cameroon borders. These borders on the west had been declared war zone and because of these conflicts, traveling near the borders and trafficking in the city of Maroua has been reduced considerably. This situation has a major impact on the economy of northern Cameroon.

The team reached the district of Katrang in the early evening hours and settled in the huts of buckaroo type, which had been constructed years ago with the support of Heart Doctors.

From the 18th to the 23rd, large numbers of people from long distances, even from neighboring Tchad, came to meet the doctors for examination and treatment. The consultation took place in a large building close to the huts and soldiers were taking care of the order.

On Tuesday 20/1, the soldiers received a message from headquarters that a couple, unknown to the region, were asking to meet the bishop of the Roman Catholic Church in the district, who was not present, and then they wanted to know the location of the nearest Orthodox Church. This was considered suspicious, since it has happened that terrorists had kidnapped a priest in the recent past, asking for ransoms, and was the reason to call for alertness.

So members of the team were asked to be ready for immediate departure during the night. The soldiers were making rounds around the compound with torch lights, having prepared their guns with ammunition, in case of suspicious movements. This was for us not a pleasant experience to remember. Fortunately nothing happened at that night, but the alertness continued during the entire week, until the day of our departure.

Most frequent health problems were bilhaziasis, heminthiasis, malaria, diarrhea, low back pain, infections of upper respiratory tract, eye problems, and skin diseases.

On the last day, after the end of consultation, large quantities of rice with sauce were distributed mostly to children and women and everybody was very happy. This was followed by local dances under the sound of tam-tam. On the 23rd the team returned to Double with an overnight stay in Maroua; it reached Athens on the 25thof January 2015.

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