A Chinese doctor takes a blood sample from a patient in Bangou, Cameroon, Oct. 29, 2022.(Photo by Kepseu/Xinhua)
by Arison Tamfu
YAOUNDE, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) -- As early as 6:00 am, Berline Fangan had already taken her seat at a makeshift but comprehensive Chinese 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 untreated 10-year-old joint pain was wearing her down. She said she had been treated by doctors over the years, but the prescribed drugs were not effective.
"It (drug) relieved me a bit...but five minutes later the pain comes back," the 53-year-old widow told Xinhua as she and hundreds of Cameroonian residents of Bangou and Bamendjou sub-divisions of the Upper Plateau division of the region waited for a team of Chinese specialized medics who had arrived at the region on Friday for a two-day free consultation and treatment campaign.
Bangou and Bamendjou, with a population of over 100,000, are surrounded by many rural communities with abundant wildlife and dispersed settlements, and have only two hospitals. Villagers are often troubled by such health problems as gastritis, typhoid, malaria, cataract, rheumatism. But most of them cannot afford medical services.
"My brother informed me of the health campaign. I left Douala (Cameroon's commercial hub, more than 200 km away from Bangou) at midnight and arrived here at 6:30 in the morning," said the retired history teacher and father of five who said he has been suffering from nerves and cramps since 2016.
Martine Kouamo stood looking dejected as she watched her 10-year-old son Christian Djomo who was suffering from testicular pain. His twin sister was suffering from neck strain, and one part of her body was not stable, she said.
"I tried to use traditional medicine (on Djomo) for three years in vain. I think Chinese doctors will help because they work well," Kouamo said.
As the sun rose over Bangou and Bamendjou, a good number of patients began taking turns to register, consult and then receive treatment from doctors in various departments, who were here as members of the 22nd Chinese medical team to Cameroon.
Fangan was among the first patients to be consulted.
She was carefully administered an acupuncture treatment, 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 this...but now I can swing behind, left and right without problem."
After being examined, little Djomo was given medicine that he hoped would heal him. "I feel about better," he said.
For the first time since 2016, Justin Kouamou, 71, felt relieved when his sickness was detected through an echography. Before this, he had visited doctors several times, but results were not satisfactory.
"The Chinese doctors inserted needles in my skin and it magically alleviated my pain. I am still amazed by the wonders of that treatment," Kouamou told Xinhua two days after he was administered an acupuncture treatment.
Over 1,600 patients were consulted and treated during the campaign that ran from Oct. 29-30, said Paul Sikapin, mayor of Bangou council.
"I asked firmly that such a campaign should be organized next year," Sikapin said.
Fabrice Dubila, a medical doctor in Bangou sub-divisional hospital, said Cameroonian and Chinese doctors worked shoulder to shoulder in treating patients and offering much-needed medical services during the campaign.
"This is a great opportunity to learn from our colleagues overseas. So far we have collaborated on the diagnosis of some patients and I have also learned some other diagnostic techniques I can use to diagnose some particular diseases notably lipoma and other pathologies. I think it is a very good opportunity to have witnessed acupuncture here in Bangou," Dubila said.
Theodore Datouo, deputy speaker of Cameroon's National Assembly who is also a member of parliament of Upper Plateau constituency, said, the campaign was a mark of friendly relations between Cameroon and China.
"China has always assisted Cameroon in the health sector and this time it is the turn of West region to benefit," said Datouo, the main organizer of the campaign.
"This campaign is for the wellbeing of the population, the health of the population and when the population is healthy, economic development will follow. We thank China for this cooperation and the Chinese medical team in Cameroon," he added.
Guo Jun, head of the Chinese medical team in Cameroon said, China has already dispatched 22 medical teams and 736 medical professionals to Cameroon since 1975 to diagnose diseases, relieve patients' pains, improve local health conditions and local medical level.
"Today's free clinic is just an example. In the future, we will further deepen cooperation, contribute to promoting medical assistance projects and stimulating China-Cameroon friendship," Guo said.
Besides the free clinic, the Chinese medical team, along with Beijing Urban Construction Group, donated drugs and protective materials to local hospitals. ■
A Chinese ophthalmologist checks a patient's eyes in Bangou, Cameroon, Oct. 29, 2022.(Photo by Kepseu/Xinhua)
This photo taken on Oct. 29, 2022 shows Justin Kouamou speaking to Xinhua in Bangou, Cameroon.(Photo by Kepseu/Xinhua)