Doctors Without Borders Aid Over 150,000 Crisis Victims

Information disclosed by Doctors Without Borders, DWB, reveals that in 2020, the organisation provided free medical consultations and assistance to more than 150,000 inhabitants in the Northwest and Southwest Region of Cameroon.

DWB rendering help to crisis victim

The beneficiaries who happen to be victims of the Cameroon Anglophone Crisis received free medical assistance through DWB’s trained community health volunteers.

How Doctors Without Borders operate

According to DWB, the role of community health care volunteers has been instrumental in providing medical assistance to victims located in remote areas as well as those in areas prone to frequent confrontations between Cameroon’s military and Separatists fighters.

How DWB Operates Amidst Crisis

“Given this high level of insecurity, humanitarian organisations like DWB face serious problems to reach displaced communities, who often hide in the bush for their safety. To provide medical aid in such challenging conditions, DWB has set up a decentralised model of care in the Southwest and Northwest regions, which is delivered directly community by the community. It relies on volunteers” DWB’s release partly reads.

According to DWB Field Coordinator, Yilma Werkagegnehu, community health volunteers are the bridge between the health facilities that DWB supports and the vulnerable communities that do not have access to health centres, either because they are displaced, or their health structures have been closed or because they cannot afford to pay for medical services.

DWB Medical Reach

Across the Southwest region notably in Mamfe and Kumba, DWB works with 106 community health volunteers charged with the responsibility of providing free basic medical assistance to their environs. The volunteers have been drilled by the organisation to detect and treat simple diseases like uncomplicated cases of malaria and respiratory tract infections, malnutrition and diarrhoea. According to DWB, the volunteers also carry out health promotion activities to prevent the population from getting sick and to look out for signs of sexual abuse and psychological distress.
However, DWB’s emergency coordinator for the Southwest region, Paulo Milanesio, regrets that the community workers are exposed to threats and harassment from armed men.

“Our community volunteers are sometimes harassed by armed men. We are in constant dialogue with different stakeholders to guarantee their safety. We need everyone to understand that community volunteers and ambulances provide a much-needed lifeline for vulnerable communities who would otherwise be deprived of medical care,” Milanesio said.

To compensate the activities of the community health volunteers, DWB says they give incentives to the volunteers and also provide them with medical facilities and medication.

According to DWB, if a treatment is beyond the capacity of community health volunteers, the patient is referred to DWB-supported health facilities where the patient receives free medical treatment after meeting certain criteria.

By Neville Mesumbe

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