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Dr Frida with a little boy who was very ill with pneumonia, and had antibiotics from the emergency drug cupboard. They are standing outside the children’s ward in the hospital in Bamenda.

CAI is running projects in a hospital in Bamenda, capital of the NW province of Cameroon, to help the doctors and nurses to care for children who are often very sick by the time they seek medical attention. We are now employing a programme manager and 3 nurses in this hospital. In addition, Dr Frida Sunjoh, a well qualified, locally trained specialist, is working with CAI.

The neonatal unit at the hospital is very crowded with inadequate hand washing facilities, and there is no room for mothers to stay with their ill babies. A CAI fundraiser has raised most of the money needed refurbish the unit, and to extend it so that mothers can sleep near their babies. This building work will start soon.

The breast milk bank, started by previous CAI doctor Peter McCormick, continues to run well. There is now a stock of frozen pasteurised breast milk, which the nurses can use to feed premature babies who are too weak to suck.

In the last year, two new nurses have been employed to help with the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of the HIV virus (PMTCT). This is very important in Cameroon, which, like many African countries, has a high prevalence of HIV infection. Dr Frida works with the CAI nurses to make sure that all HIV+ve mothers delivering a baby in the hospital are counselled about feeding, and medication, and that their babies are followed up and tested for the virus at the appropriate time.

The CAI nurses are also running a support group for HIV +ve mothers. The mothers find the emotional and practical support they receive very helpful, as coping with their own illness and the anxiety abut their baby is hard.

Burkitt's lymphoma is a malignant tumour, which particularly affects African children. It is always fatal if left untreated, but cure is possible with a chemotherapy regime. Dr Frida and the CAI nurses at the hospital give the treatment and then follow up the children. CAI funds this chemotherapy, which most parents could not possibly pay for themselves. Read more about the success of CAI's Burkitt's Lymphoma programme here.

CAI continues to supply medical equipment for the children's ward, and in an emergency, to supply individual children with essential drugs.

We would like to extend our work with HIV +ve mothers, by doing outreach work, and extending care for orphaned babies. We would also like to improve the follow up of Burkitt's lymphoma children.

Alison Earley
CAI Country Director, Cameroon

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Past news from Cameroon

Cameroon in 2004 | Cameroon in 2003

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