PRIMARY HEALTH CARE
SHUMAS provides health care assistance to rural health units benefiting a greater part of the population, in the form of drugs, and providing or extending piped water. Drugs and vital equipment to improve health and sanitation, provided by European volunteers, are supplied to Health Centres and Clinics such as at Lui, Rohvitangt'a, Kitiwum and Semeca.
We are often reliant on overseas volunteers to provide replacement drugs and a large consignment was given in 2007 by Anne Dance from Canada.
Volunteer UK family doctor, Peter Hearn, spent 10 days treating some 355 patients at Lui Health Centre in Oku in November 2007. This village of 8000 people had never had the services of a doctor before. Dr Hearn supplied the Centre with drugs from the UK and sourced locally.
'..training for five nurses every year...'
Resulting from his visit, Dr Hearn and friends set up the UK
charity 'Spreading Health' to partner with SHUMAS to fund
training for five nurses every year to serve in the health centres of
their respective home communities.
The first group was selected in July 2008 to train in the 2008/9 academic year at the Saint Louis Higher Institute of Health & Biomedical Sciences in Bamenda.
This exciting and innovative project aims to improve the quality of rural health care in the North West Province by around 50%.
Since 2009 Spreading Health have sponsored 10 students from poor rural communities and all are now well into their studies or internships. SHUMAS already has 7 applications to consider for 2010/11.
Watch the Spreading Health student nurse interviews....
Besides these major activities, health promotion programmes on preventive medicines and primary health care are being set up in other rural communities. Our major objective is to create and/or raise awareness of diseases like malaria, HIV/AIDS, polio and other communicable tropical diseases.
These programmes are having a major positive impact on many local communities.
We have already carried out preliminary studies of more than ten village health centres/maternity units and will start their construction when funds become available.
Water is a vital source for livelihood. Man needs water for
almost 80% of his activities. Cameroon is blessed with abundant
water, from streams, rivers, springs, rain, lakes and from the
However, to use this water, it needs to be made potable for convenience and health. The government of Cameroon has done much to ensure potable water in Cameroon. Unfortunately, the rural population, 60% of the total population, benefits very little from this effort.
'H3 Water' aims to help provide potable water for desperate rural communities in the North West Province whose only water sources are unprotected natural sources. Hence the region has a high incidence of water borne diseases such as dysentery, diarrhoea, typhoid and stomach disorders.
According to UNICEF only 44% of people in rural areas of Cameroon, have access to safe drinking water, and nearly 50 per cent of the people in developing countries suffer from a health problem caused by water and sanitation deficits.
Feasibility studies were conducted by SHUMAS in 2007 for more than 20 communities who had applied for assistance to build or extend water supply schemes. With the generous support of the Canadian International Rotary Clubs, SHUMAS intends to complete 15 selected H3 Water schemes over the next 3 years.
'...villages contribute to the project...'
In line with SHUMAS policy, villages contribute to the project with their own materials and labour. SHUMAS works with the community water management committees to ensure that good water management is maintained. For those participating communities, 'H3 Water' ensures easier, cleaner, potable water access and a healthier lifestyle for all, adults and children alike.
In the years 2008/9, 6 projects, were finished in the first phase, benefiting 5 communities across the region, plus the Biofarm and its nearby community.
An urgent priority for the near future is to bring water supplies and toilet facilities to all the school projects which SHUMAS has undertaken so far. (See our Rural Schools page for more details)
However, SHUMAS has 657 applications pending! An enormous
number, presenting real challenges.
Recently, by we submitted a request for a grant from the 'Water of Life' programme of Guiness Cameroon SA, a local drinks company. If this is successful, we hope to start a further 13 community water projects. For more details of the various projects, download the SHUMAS 2009 Water & Sanitation Annual Report. Click here
In view of the wide range of our projects and programmes we have been encouraged to use this network to mainstream the HIV/AIDS programme.
Key components of this project:
- Educating and sensitization in our target communities on issues such as preventive measures
- how to deal with those affected
- and, at the curative level, identifying those affected and infected and directing them to appropriate helping units or agencies and government department.
We have been highly successful, as many of our FIOH - Future in
Our Hands co-operatives have fully incorporated this in all their
meetings and actions.