Cameroon – 23 Years of Changes – an update

The hospital in Kolofata grown and developed since first established in 1990.  Here’s a summary from the VICS volunteers associated with the hospital.

In 1990, we started out very small, with only 5 beds in a dilapidated builidng at the entrance to town.  Our real focus then was on taking healthcare out to the villages, and this we did five days a week as a mobile health unit.  A community leader from Kolofata lent us an old Renault 12 that we took to a different village each day.  One of us doctored and saw pregnant women, the other was a pharmacist with a carton of 11 different kinds of medicines.  A nurse vaccinated children and pregnant women, a local boy translated and our driver weighed children.  This we did for months until we became familiar with our district and the population got used to us.

We then discovered a never-used three bedroom building in a field of prickly weeds on a hillside off the road leading out of town.  This, we learned, had been built a couple years earlier and was supposed to have been the first building of a distrcit hospital complex, but funds disappeared, the building was never finished, and the project was abandoned.

After a major clean-up – all the cupboards had been devoured by termites, the floor was a mess with bat droppings, and dozens of lizards had taken up residence – we began to work there each afternoon, waiting for patients to discover their new hospital.

Over the next 22 years we gradually built up the hospital, constructing what eventually would be 13 major pavillions plus latrines, kitchens and underground water tanks, until we reached the 120 bed capacity of the present.  We are no longer waiting for patients.  They have found us and come from all over, including neighbouring districts of Cameroon as well as Nigeria and Chad, and they overflow our days.