Thank you for your kind words. The lone Hospital (Manoka District Hospital) owns a speed boat but the greatest challenge has always been to get fuel for the boat as there is no funds allocated for that. As a consequence, my humble self as a medical doctor practicing there, use public commercial boats and sometimes fishing boats to gain access to islands because I can't afford the cost of fuelling the speed boat and motivating the pilot and co-pilot. How much more of people who have fled their homes, leaving everything behind including their source of lively hood.
Each of these Communities have a transport system such that everyday there is a "bonus fuel". If every transporter donates just 0.5l of the fuel everyday and is kept aside for emergencies, it will be quite a lot. Plus we prefer the community to own this project. That way, we are sure of it's sustainability. Even if the ministry accepts to provide fuel, it may not be willing to do that for longer than a certain period of time.
Thanks a million for your feedback. The first phase of our pilot work is aimed at evaluating acceptance of the problem and the solution by the communities involved to ensure sustainability. It will be considered a success if 80% of community representatives accept that there is a problem and at least 80% agrees to the solution. We chose 5communities out of 47islands in Douala VI, Cameroon for our pilot work. All notables (100%) accepted that there is a big problem of pre-hospital deaths and lack of collaboration among members of the community in times of medical emergency. Every family try to sort out their own problems. This gave us an idea of how difficult it will be for internally displaced persons to integrate and get help in such a community. 91.3% of Notables agreed that a local first aid system that will empower the community to act as one and help themselves will be a solution to the problem. 93.5% of women representatives accept both problem and solution. Our next target population are youth representatives. If at least 80% agrees with us, we will carry out a series of activities to instil the spirit of solidarity and explain the importance of unity in the proper functioning of the first aid system. Then we will train them on first aid , create a first aid system with them and evaluate output.
Before the project: Experience of an internally displaced person:
A pregnant lady fled from the South West Region of Cameroon with her husband and kids to seek refuge in Cap-Cameroon which is a remote island in Douala VI. Upon arrival, she had an inevitable abortion as consequence of the physical and emotional stress she went through. She bleed heavily and only got to the hospital 2days latter because the receiving community was never prepared or had a system that could help them to easily help people on the move. She arrived the hospital with severe blood shortage (anaemia) and in a near death state. Her family explained that their stay in Cap-Cameroon has been a very frustrating experience because it is always so difficult to get help. The recieving community on the other hand thinks that the government ought to help them to be able to help people on the move. So though the community is willing to help, they are just not empowered to do so.
A scenario we expect after project implementation:
A family flees from kumba into Cap-Cameroon. Upon arrival, their 15year old child had an asthmatic crisis but while fleeing he forgot his inhaler. Members of this Community saw a family in distress, notified their notables and innitiated the local first aid system. While some where carrying out the basic first aid, others were organizing for an emergency transportation and the hospital was also notified. Their son was rushed to the hospital and his life saved. Not only was their son's life preserved, they felt loved and cared for. As a result, they began to interact even more with members of this Community. Therefore helping the community to help them even more with other needs. Within a short time they became fully integrated as members of the community and were even taught basic first aid. Now they help the community to help others. The project indeed brought a lot of hope to the internally displaced family and built solidarity and confidence in the receiving Community. The community was therefore well empowered to help people on the move.
Any receiving community with poor health access need to be empowered to help themselves. Only then will they feel confident to help others. If they are taught to work like one community towards one goal, they will learn to collaborate more and help even strangers.