By Fru Rita Ngum
Mercy Ships, a humanitarian Non-Governmental Organization in collaboration with the Cameroon Clubfoot Care (CCC) project have treated 25 children with clubfoot deformity and over 200 Cameroonians with other diseases within 9 months of providing high level quality health care services in Cameroon. The Coordinator of Mercy Ships Ponseti Clinic, Nick Veltjens disclosed the information during the Mercy Ships Clubfoot celebration ceremony on April 19, 2018 at the Nylon District Hospital in Douala.
During the ceremony, the ministers and all present were drilled in a presentation on Clubfoot treatment cycle by the Clinical Supervisor of the Cameroon Clubfoot Care Project, Dr. Henry Ndasi.
“Clubfoot can be treated using the Ponseti method which is the gold standard and least expensive method,” Dr. Henry Ndasi noted.
His presentation informed the government ministers namely: Public Health, Communication, Social Affairs, Women’s Empowerment and the Family, Transport, Tourism and Leisure and the Director in charge of Epidemics and Pandemic at the Ministry of Public Health as well as the Governor of Littoral Region on the duration of treatment and the success rate. The curious ministers congratulated the Cameroon Clubfoot Care Project for ensuring that children born with clubfoot deformity are treated almost for free.
According to Nick Veltjens, the objective of the ceremony was to take stock of the health services they have been providing to Cameroonians for the past nine months and also to thank God for the progress of the treatment offered to patients by Mercy Ships.
He noted that during the past 9 months, 8 participants from 3 health facilities which are partner clinics of the Cameroon Clubfoot Care Project (CCCP) in Douala were trained on Ponseti technique of treating clubfoot with certificates awarded during the ceremony.
Given that Mercy Ships will be leaving Cameroon in June 2018, the Coordinator of the Ponseti Clinic handed over to the Cameroon Government the Clubfoot Ponseti Clinic at Nylon District Hospital with the expectation for the government to take over its managementand ensure the treatment of clubfoot using the Ponseti technique.
The Representative of the Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism and Leisure, Belo Bouba Maigari received the clinic on behalf of the Government of Cameroon and handed it to the Minister of Public Health. Minister Belo Bouba applauded Mercy ships for the excellent health services delivery to Cameroonians.
The second part of the ceremony brought together all parents of children with clubfoot who have received treatment. It was an emotional moment as some of them testified while shedding tears of joy describing how depressed they were before and how their hearts are now filled with joy as the progressive treatment of their children by Mercy ships has enabled them walk like other children. They appreciated Mercy ships for putting smiles on their faces.
Mercy Ships has thus, charged Mr. Nfor Wilfred from Mboppi Baptist Hospital, one of the trainees to follow up the complete treatment of the 25 children with clubfoot problems.
Given that the CCC Project has been advocating for the institutionalization of clubfoot in the Cameroon Public Health system since 2015, hopes are now high that with the presence of the Ministers at the ceremony and with the facilitation of Mercy Ships, there may be a breakthrough in the near future.