Stories from the Mission Field

September 2020

New Projecs Defying the Pandemic

Hospital in Garoua/Cameroon

Cameroon is also affected by Covid-19 and is in a state of emergency: with 17,000 official infections and about 400 deaths so far. The number of high-ranking persons who have died suggests that the number of unreported cases is much higher. Already in May we had reported that the President of the Church, Frederik Epundé Ngaka, had died of Covid 19. Our missionary Sarah Bosniakowski now writes that all 10 regions in Cameroon are affected – especially the metropolis Yaoundé and Douala in the south. In the north and extreme north of the country, where the facilities of the medical plant are located, medical care is not guaranteed including the hospital in Garoua where Sarah works. There are no intensive care beds and hardly any trained personnel. There is an absolute state of emergency in many places. The state invests almost exclusively in equipment to be used in the south.

Public life has returned to normal since June. Masks are still mandatory and you have to wash your hands before entering a building. “However, the rules are hardly ever observed anymore,” Sarah writes. Schools and universities have been open again for graduating classes since June 1. Due to the delay of the schools, the new school year will not start in September as planned but at the beginning of October.

In the “Hôpital de l’espérance” (Hospital of Hope) where Sarah works, there have not been any infected people yet. Nevertheless, as a precautionary measure, some activities have been suspended. The appointments for antenatal care and child vaccinations have been reduced to reduce the risk of infection. In contrast, examinations, operations, and births could be carried out as usual. Information material is available everywhere and is distributed or posted. In the hospital, too, masks are of course compulsory and containers for washing hands and disinfecting have been set up. EBM INTERNATIONAL was able to send at least 2,000 protective masks to Cameroon.

Despite the pandemic some new projects were implemented and others improved: Sarah introduced a new system that gives an accurate overview of the drugs sold by the pharmacy. Another achievement is that the hospital has been “upgraded” by the state to a center for malnourished children. Now 40 to 50 malnourished children are given a mixture of peanut paste and corn porridge every week. New rooms have also been built to accommodate more multi-resistant tuberculosis patients. The construction of the building for obstetrics is now also to be continued. Since July the work of Sarah’s education campaign can be resumed so that the upcoming rainy season will be used to provide intensive education about malaria and protection against the disease which saves the lives of many people. Other necessary issues will also be addressed by the campaign. Since the first case of corona in Garoua, Sarah has not worked in the hospital anymore but from home. With her husband she tried to avoid all social contacts because she is pregnant and wants to prevent a possible infection with corona. Since mid-July Sarah has been in Germany for her home stay.

Anika Schumann, student at the Elstal Theological University
(according to a report by Sarah Bosniakowski)

This story of the mission field is an excerpt from our new MAGAZINE which has just been published. On request we will send it free of charge 3 times a year by post. In the booklet are many more reports from our projects in the field of health care for which we ask for donations this year at Thanksgiving.