Last June we were warned by Prof Tih, Director of the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Board not to travel to Sabongari on the Nigerian border.
We wanted to visit our newest parent group. “You will be two white faces in the market place ” he said ” and there is a risk of kidnap”. The threat from Boko Haram has receded, but the Cameroon/Nigerian border remains officially closed because of ebola! It remains a very porous border as you can imagine with thousands of footpaths through the forest and bush.
We visited Sabongari today – not to see our parent group who were fully engaged with Sunday (church) activities but to call on a lone doctor at Sabongari Catholic hospital who has referred 5 patients to us in the last year. Sabongari is in a deep, fertile, malarial valley and is clearly quite a hot spot for Burkitt’s lymphoma. The lone doctor, a francophone Congolese called Alain Say told us that he came there for two weeks – and has stayed for 2 years such is the medical need. He said that prior to contact with our work at Banso Baptist Hospital his child cancer patients all died: he had no drugs and the parents were too poor to travel elsewhere (the terrain is difficult). At Banso we have the drugs and our small charity (BTMAT) will pay for in patient treatment. Prof Hesseling’s parent support programme assists with transport.
I was impressed by the dedication of this lone doctor – such a privilege to be able to help a man like this. He has very few medical visitors and Prof Hesseling was able to give expert advice and help with two sick children.