By Baliki Marie Eta & Nembo Jenifer Nagai*
When the diocese of Buea created the Mount Mary Hospital in Lower Farms Buea, little did it know that this otherwise private and secluded health outfit was to become a source of succour to aggrieved Cameroonians. However, with the advent of the crisis pitting Anglophone separatists against the government, many have found a place to rely on even when there is no means to absorb the shock of hospital bills. Such desperation has found solace in the partnership that ‘Doctors Without Borders’ aka, ‘Medecins Sans Frontiers’ have struck with Mount Mary Hospital.
This explains why thousands of internally displaced persons, IDPs faced with diverse health challenges resulting from the ongoing socio-political crisis, in the two English speaking Regions of Cameroon find the Mount Mary Hospital of great importance. Despite the fact that they don’t stay there, they have been welcomed and treated with much hospitality.
According to the Matron, Mah Cecilia, every day, they are faced with different IDP’S in desperate need of medical attention even as most are without funds for treatment. They have numerous cases of orphans, widows, widowers and physically challenged people whose wellbeing is being taken care of by the parish. The Matron told The Rambler that the impact of the crisis is most evident in teenage pregnancies, adding that “teenage girls are either sexually assaulted or exploited.”
The crisis has an agonizing and heartbreaking effect, most especially on pregnant women who had to run into the bushes for safety. In the event, they were not opportune to attend antenatal or go for regular medical checkups. The most pathetic part of all is women who are afflicted with the pain of parturition or bearing their children in the worst unhygienic conditions which may further endanger the health of both mother and child.
The Matron further stated that they have received no help from the government regarding the welfare of the IDPs and that they do not intend to request for such help, not now or the in the nearest future. Nonetheless, they have been assisted by an international NGO, ‘Doctors Without Borders,’ who have greatly supported them financially and materially.
She appreciated donors who have sponsored the health requirements of cases that needed surgery such as the case of baby Alex
[child of an internally displaced woman]
, who was born in a bush in Munyenge with a health challenge that greatly affected its head. She encouraged people to be humane and assist the needy as this is a vital necessity for national growth.
A close investigation by The Rambler team proved that IDPs at the Mount Mary Hospital are indeed well treated with much hospitality and generosity. They are provided with good medical care and their feeding is taken care of. Though they may have nowhere to cover their heads, they can always turn the hospital for help. It was evident on the faces of the people that they are satisfied with the help which they are getting from the hospital and other sources that have aided. The hospital hereby looks forward to promising days ahead.
*UB Journalism students on internship