Our longtime partner in Cameroon, Hope Services Ministry International (HSMI), was founded in 1994 to provide humanitarian services including free and low-cost health care to tens of thousands of children, women, prisoners and vulnerable people in general.
Thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, we were recently able to ship a 40-foot container containing medicines, body health care supplies for new mothers, medical supplies for hospitals and clinics such as sterile examination gloves and medical equipment including stretchers, wheelchairs, oxygen tubes, and more.
CEO Esther Ndichafah reported to us that they focused their distributions in local communities where there is much hardship is being experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Nothing has really been small at such moments when people are struggling to meet their most basic needs,” says Esther.
For example, among the over-the-counter medicines HSMIs received is Zegerid, an antacid which is used to treat certain stomach and esophagus problems, such as acid reflux, ulcers and even prevent stomach bleeding in very ill patients, with Esther noting that “the prevalence of gastritis is relatively high, and this has helped many to find relief.”
Another seemingly small item that is greatly appreciated by nursing mothers is a body balm made of shea butter, with Esther saying that the skin rejuvenating properties of the body balm has helped many mothers with the post-delivery skin healing process.
In addition, HSMI was also able to partner with another non-profit organization to carry out a medical mission which treated many people with a variety of health conditions such as hernias and lipomas, an overgrowth of fat cells under the skin which become benign tumors and can cause pain, complications or other symptoms.
“The donated supplies were used in the surgical procedures,” she reported.
Although HSMI is located in Cameroon, it also regularly provides services to neighboring Chad which she notes is one of the poorest sub-Saharan African countries.
And with a life expectancy of about 52 years for women and 49 years for men, combined with poor healthcare infrastructure and being prone to conflicts, only makes matters worse.
“Some parts of the country are highly destitute including some of the villages we have been reaching out to,” said Esther. “These medications and relief items helped ameliorate their very basic lifestyle and every time they receive things of this nature, it meets a great need.”
And through the use of the medicines, supplies and equipment, HSMI is also able to provide healthcare to those who have fled their homes due to violence in their regions who are known as internally displaced persons (IDPs).
“With the items we received through this shipment, we successfully reached out to hundreds of IDPs in Yaounde and Douala and less privileged people in our health care facilities,” she said. “And we are still reaching and planning to reach out to more people as the COVID-19 pandemic phases out.
“The donations were very timely given the various crises we have gone through in Cameroon in recent times, and many people have experienced untold hardships. It was a great relief to all age groups.”
And to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® who help make all we do possible, Esther says:
“We wish to express our sincere gratitude for reaching out to thousands of Cameroonians. We count it a privilege that you trust and place such a responsibility in our hands.”