Situation in Cameroon.
Although Cameroon has an abundance of wealth from its natural resources and good agricultural conditions in many regions the poverty is still widespread.
In the healthcare sector there are fewer than two doctors for every 10,000 people so health services are often provided by nurses who are also in minority. As well as being trained in basic health care, nurses focus on educating the public on matters such as hygiene, nutrition and Hiv/Aids.
Adequate funding is lacking, with around 6% of government expenditure spent on health.
To improve the availability of services and drugs, a fee-based system was introduced .This allows medical facilities to exchange fees for services and treatments. The charging of the fees in Cameroon‘s hospitals has caused patients to die from lack of medical care when they are unable to pay for treatment.
Less than 6.5 % of the population have access to piped drinking water and fewer than half of Cameroonians have proper sanitarian facilities.
(Kids play in the streets of a poor area in Yaounde, Cameroon.)
Illnesses has been linked to unsafe drinking water and poor hygiene, such as cholera and diarrhoea, are a regular treat.
Cameroon’s educational system has and still is facing tremendous challenges in providing a quality education to all children compared to some countries in the world which made great advancements in expanding educational opportunities.
Regionally wealth disparities take a toll on children and put vulnerable groups at risk for not attending school which causes further disadvantages in life. Therefore about 300,000 children of primary school age are out of school either because they dropped out, never enrolled or are expected to enrol later. Living in a rural area doubles the risk of not attending school and poor children are five times more likely to be out of school than children from rich households.
According to transparency international, 50% of primary schoolers have poor a infrastructure, only 19% have working toilets, 30% had an access to tap water and barely 30% had enough tables and benches for students.
I live in Ireland. Three years ago I planned to go to Cameroon, my country of origin. Two days before the departure my grandmother with whom I grew up with had a stroke. While there, I stayed in the hospital day and night for two weeks. During that time it was a real eye opener. There was no medical card sytem put in place, you had to pay for everything before you treatment would even start even if you were to die. She was lucky to be on a private ward but there was nothing, you could barely see the mattress on the bed. All I could think is the amount of stuff we recycle here in this country that could greatly benefit the these unequipped hospitals. Coming back to Ireland, I just wanted to help, but I knew that couldn’t happen without the help of my colleagues.
(Collecting used equipment to fill the container for Cameroon)
I was lucky to discuss the idea with one of the most experience staff (Lily Kelly) in the hospital where I work, who supported the idea and continue to do so.
I also approached three other staff members (Married Kelly, Marie O’shea, Yvonne Delahunty) with the idea who were delighted to join the team. Helen Hennessy (retired staff nurse) later joined.
So on the 29th of July 2015, the charity called” A Little Hope” was born and our main idea is to collect and reuse surplus medical and educational equipment from hospitals and schools throughout the locality in Ireland to be distributed to hospitals /schools/orphanages in Cameroon.
During two years while waiting for the paperwork to be finalised ,we filled a warehouse in baltinglass donated by Mr john Kelly with beds, mattresses ,wheelchairs, crutches, clothes ,copies, Zimmer frames…..etc. Theses came from various places and we are forever very very grateful for the generosity of people in Ireland.
(Container ready to go)
Gisele Njofang our agent in Virginia (USA) has also constantly sent donation to Fidelie Falert Nietcho, a Little Hope Representative in Cameroon, so far few orphanages and schools have been visited.
The first fundraising “DIP IN THE NIP” was organised on the 15th of November 2015, and the 2nd, a disco night 24th of June 2016, a 3rd is on the 1st of October organised by Coon Hospitality Group and the 4th is another Dip in the Nip in November 2017.
(“Dip in the Nip” fundraising event)
All the money raised will help us toward the transportation cost of the containers.
At the moment we have a container filled and getting ready to be sent to Cameroon. All the members will also travel after the container has reached its destination to make sure things are distibuted exactly to those in need.
Where we are today is just the result of great team work and I am taking this opportunity, on the behalf of “A Little Hope’s” team to say a big thank you to anybody who has helped us at any stage during the process and that really means a lot to us.
You can check out the Facebook page of “A Little Hope” HERE.
(Four nurses who help Yvette set up A Little Hope)