YAOUNDE, Cameroon – Before 6 a.m., Sedan Fangan had already taken up residence at a makeshift traditional Chinese medicine clinic just outside Bangou Sub-Divisional Hospital in Cameroon’s West Region.
The mother-of-two was nervous and in pain as she explained that her 10-year-old untreated joint problem was wearing her down. She, like many other patients who visited the clinic, had been treated by conventional doctors over the years, but found the prescribed drugs ineffective.
“(The drugs) relieved me a bit…but five minutes later the pain came back,” says the 53-year-old. She and hundreds of Cameroonian residents of Bangou and Bamendjou, Haut Plateau department, were waiting for a team of Chinese specialist doctors who arrived in the region last week for a two-day free consultation and treatment campaign.
Bangou and Bamendjou, with a population of over 100,000, are surrounded by numerous rural communities widely dispersed over wild terrain and have only two hospitals.
Villagers are often troubled by health problems like gastritis, typhoid, malaria, cataracts and rheumatism. But most of them cannot afford medical services.
People came from far and wide to the impoverished region to receive free medical care.
“My brother told me about the health campaign. I left Douala (Cameroon’s commercial center, more than 200 kilometers from Bangou) at midnight and arrived here at 6:30 in the morning,” a history teacher told retired and a family man. five who says he has had cramps since 2016.
Martine Kouamo watched, discouraged, her 10-year-old son, Christian Djomo, who suffered from testicular pain. Her twin sister suffered from neck pain and weakness in part of her body.
The exact causes of the ailments were unknown.
“I tried to use conventional medicine (on Christian) for three years, but to no avail. I think the Chinese doctors will help me because they are working well,” Kouamo says.
As the sun rose over Bangou and Bamendjou, many patients took turns to register, consult and then seek treatment from doctors from various departments, who were here as members of the 22nd Chinese medical team in Cameroon. .
Fangan was among the first patients to be seen.
She was carefully administered acupuncture therapy, an ancient Chinese method of treatment in which fine needles are inserted through the skin at specific points to treat various physical conditions.
“As I speak to you, the pain is gone,” Fangan said after the treatment. “I feel better. In the morning, I couldn’t swing my neck like that…but now I can swing behind, left and right with no problem.”
Her boy, Christian, was given medication and hoped it would help him recover.
For the first time since 2016, Justin Kouamou, 71, felt relieved. Before that, he had consulted doctors several times for an unnamed disease, but the results were not satisfactory.
“The Chinese doctors inserted needles into my skin and it magically eased my pain. I am still amazed at the wonders of this treatment,” Kouamou says.
More than 1,600 patients were consulted and treated during the campaign, which took place from October 29 to 30, indicates Paul Sikapin, mayor of Bangou.
“I strongly requested that such a campaign be organized next year,” says Sikapin.
Fabrice Dubila, a doctor at the Bangou sub-division hospital, says Cameroonian and Chinese doctors worked hand in hand to treat patients and provide much-needed medical services during the campaign.
“It’s a great opportunity to learn from our colleagues abroad. So far, we have collaborated in the diagnosis of some patients and I have also learned other diagnostic techniques that I can use to diagnose certain particular diseases, especially lipoma and other pathologies. I think it’s a very good opportunity to have attended acupuncture here in Bangou”, says Dubila.
Theodore Datouo, vice-president of the National Assembly of Cameroon and also a deputy for the Haut Plateau constituency, said the campaign was a mark of friendly relations between Cameroon and China.
“China has always helped Cameroon in the field of health and this time it is the turn of the Western Region to benefit from it”, explains Datouo, the main organizer of the campaign.
“This campaign is for the health and well-being of the people, and when the people are healthy, economic development will follow. We thank China for this cooperation and the Chinese medical team in Cameroon,” he added. -he.
Guo Jun, head of the Chinese medical team in Cameroon, said China has sent 22 medical teams and 736 medical professionals to Cameroon since 1975 to diagnose diseases, relieve patients’ pains and improve local health conditions. and medical expertise.
“Today’s free clinic is just one example. In the future, we will further deepen cooperation and help promote medical assistance projects and improve China-Cameroon friendship,” said Guo.
Besides the free acupuncture clinic, the Chinese medical team, together with the Beijing Urban Construction Group, donated medicines and protective materials to local hospitals.
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