When it comes to global health, progress discriminates against rural Africa.

Even as poverty ebbs in Africa, gains don’t always make it to the countryside. As a result, rural communities lag behind cities, especially in healthcare. These remote villages lack basic necessities like doctors, medicine, and even clean water.

With fewer patients and less income, doctors have less reason to set up practice away from Cameroon’s main cities. There’s a significant gap between access to healthcare in Cameroon’s cities and the surrounding areas.

We’re addressing this inequity with a revolutionary idea. Hope for Africa can be found in the hands of Africans. Resourceful, smart people capable of improving their odds when someone shows them how.

At Genesis Foundation, our efforts take a variety of forms, to maximize our impact on the communities we serve.

Multiple Hygiene Campaigns to Defend Against Dysentery, Cholera, and Intestinal worms

LittleGirlIn Africa, diseases like dysentery, cholera, and intestinal worms have the strongest hold on areas with the fewest resources and weak sanitation. They thrive and spread, sneaking into shared water supplies from infected but symptom-free people. As people get sick, they retreat from school and work, diminishing local economies.

 

The only thing more dangerous than the bacteria causing these diseases is not knowing how to prevent them.

Like so many areas of development, strong public health starts with education. Our hygiene campaigns occur in phases, so we can ensure people change their behavior, not just their knowledge. We not only teach how to stay safe from germs, we teach them how to ensure everyone does it.

As you read about our programs, please consider assisting us. Now that we know our model is successful, we must keep going. Please consider helping us do just that.

Teaching the Basics of Disease Prevention to Cameroonian Villagers

If you’ve been to rural Cameroon, you understand why sanitation can be a challenge. We’ve found that a simple bucket of water and soap can enable handwashing after using the toilet, even without indoor plumbing. Our multi-faceted campaigns lean on all community stakeholders to share this kind of knowledge, from schools to traditional village rulers (Fons) to mothers.

Here’s how one of our first campaigns went.

Genesis Foundation’s teams demonstrated how to keep pit toilets and surrounding areas clean, while highlighting dangerous practices. Our team knew occasions like funerals present large risks, because people tended to share hand-washing buckets, which causes contamination. By warning of the hidden dangers, we were able to curb this practice.

Involving the Community for Lasting Results

After thoroughly explaining the dos and don’ts of good sanitation, Genesis Foundation created a road map from awareness to action. Under the supervision of village Rulers (Fons), we set up health committees, with chair persons from development unions.

In addition, communities created a new leadership position: sanitary inspector. The sanitary inspectors work with local authority to control sanitation and even sanction people for habits that endanger people.

Measuring Our Impact

After our hygiene and sanitation campaign, the difference was palpable. In one year of Genesis Foundation’s activity, cases of dysentery, diarrhea, and intestinal worms dropped from 218 to 47. Our efforts contributed directly to this outcome.

As a direct result of working within the community to generate excitement and buy-in, leaders and sanitary inspectors continued to work for sanitation after the campaign had ended.

Keeping Malaria at Bay with Bed Net Monitoring and Evaluations

Malaria is the number one killer in Africa. We’ve confirmed this grim finding through volunteer surveys and collaboration with the Bome Health Centre.

Given the prevalence of malaria, Genesis Foundation decided to track the usage of bed nets, one of the most effective protections against this cruel disease. Our volunteers made the journey to all seven villages of the Bome valley, and visited 606 houses.

Our efforts exposed unmistakable and urgent need for more bed nets. It also showed potential for more research on other preventative options, such as mosquito-repelling solar lamps. As a result of our findings, we’re putting a laser focus on eradicating malaria at the local level.

With your help, we can reduce Malaria’s hideous foot print in Cameroon.

Capacity Building

Our ability to foster awareness and independence stems from educating and training our people. That’s how we can trust our impact will outlast our work.

Here are some examples of how we’ve invested in the people of Cameroon:

  • Seminars on volunteering, hand-washing, community health, and effective communication for our volunteers
  • Seminar for state registered nurses, Rapid Assessment of the Acutely Ill, by Critical Care Certified Nurse Practitioner and Genesis Founder Katheryne Tifuh Amba (now a doctoral prepared nurse)
  • Working session with National Polytechnic Bambui’s Student Health Club
  • Financial assistance for National Polytechnic Bambui’s Student Health Club
  • Genesis Foundation sponsored essay contest with prizes
  • Training community volunteers for monthly hypertension and diabetes screenings

Health Fairs and Screenings  

Reaching many people efficiently is one of the biggest challenges in rural Africa. Genesis Foundation regularly hosts community health fairs, to tackle a variety of issues and reach communities. 

Our main community health fair is organized every winter, in February or March.

Medication and Supplies 

Education is a fine thing, but it can’t replace medication. At our community health fairs, we’re able to offer people medication to protect against and treat intestinal worms and malaria, diseases that are all too common.

We also distribute basic hospital supplies, such as bed sheets. It sounds obvious, but in Cameroon no one takes these “everyday” items for granted. For us, it’s not common to have basic necessities. For example, patients in Cameroon must pay for surgical glove and tubing in order to get procedures.

Please consider giving us financial support to continue these distributions. No donation is too small to make a difference.

Hypertension

hypertensionOur volunteers uncovered prevalence of both hypertension and diabetes in our target population, which impacts many lives.

We held regular blood pressure screenings, with 125 people participating in three consecutive screenings. Because of its nature as a chronic condition, managing hypertension is a marathon, not a sprint. These people now have experience taking a long-term look at their blood pressure, and know when it’s time to worry.

Getting equipment to people is a challenge. We’ve had a lot of success with our community health fairs. However, we see these events as a place to start, not a place to finish. For greater sustainability, we need to bring hypertension and diabetes support to people at home. We also need to maintain our equipment, which is not easy to transport.

You can help us make healthcare more accessible to people of the Bome Valley in Cameroon, by making a donation.

Sanitation

 We continue our work with hygiene and sanitation at our community health fairs. We isolate behaviors that taint water and spread germs, and demonstrate best practices. Depending on our supply, we’re able to distribute things like soap and buckets to ensure people put their new knowledge into action when they return home.

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