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16th Mission CAMEROON

On the 14th of February 2015, a five member team of Heart Doctors departed from Athens for Extreme Northern Cameroon, to offer medical services and medication to patients of Goulfey community, following an invitation by the mayor of that city. The situation there is very dangerous, due to the activities of terrorists from Nigeria; their organization, called Boco-Haram, consists of Islamic extremists, who act in North Eastern Nigeria and the neighboring regions of Chad and Cameroon, killing and kidnapping especially young people and women.

The team was received at the airport of NDjamena in Chad by the mayor of Goulfey and next morning crossed the borders and entered Cameroon without delay at the control station, due to the presence of the mayor. The team visited the office of the local authorities in the city of Kousseri and then moved northwards with two cars and a third with 5 soldiers in full combat equipment. The journey to the north was in savanna soil, since the road was under construction by a group of Chinese workers - the works had stopped, because of the kidnapping, days ago, of some Chinese workers.

The escorted team of Heart Doctors reached Goulfey and settled in the residence of a former minister, who donated the building to the local government as a guesthouse. After arranging the accommodation, the team visited the hospital of the city and was guided to the different rooms. A place was chosen in the veranda of one of the buildings of the hospital compound, appropriate for consultation work in the next days. The doctors and nurses of the hospital joined the team.

From the 16th to the 20th of February 2015, a large number of people with health problems was daily attended. The nurses have done their job interpreting, giving instructions and explaining doctors advice, keeping the gathered crowds in order together with the soldiers. The work stopped at 14 hours, after the last patient was seen, and the hospital personnel and the team returned to their accommodation and households. Almost all people were Muslims of mainly African but also Arabic origin.

Most common health problems were malaria and anemia, gastritis due to the additives used in daily cooking, hypertension due to excessive salt, eye problems due to dusty atmosphere, infections of the respiratory and urogenital tract, diarrhea and low back pain.

Oh the afternoon before our departure, the local governor visited the team expressing sincere thanks for its contribution to the health situation of the people in his region. This man had welcomed Heart Doctors at the arrival in the government building and had also paid a visit one day on the field of the medical work.

The field from the borders with Chad to the city of Goulfey reminded us of a war zone due to the war vehicles and tanks seen frequently everywhere. The vehicles belonged to the army of Chad, a country fully involved in the help of Cameroon, in facing the terrorists from Nigeria.

Every day the team was informed by the soldiers assigned for its security about combats with dead of both sides, prisoners and kidnappings, some taking place at a distance of 150 kilometers from Goulfey.

The members of this mission returned to Athens through Istanbul on the 22nd of February 2015.

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