A Travellerspoint blog

Photo Phlood

Kelly has been executing her expert photography skills to capture beautiful moments in AMPHS's travels, some of which I have shared in previous posts. Below are some more of her exciting photos:














Posted by amphstravel 05:14 Archived in Cameroon Comments (0)

Sara's Accounts

AMPHS's co-founder and director of its international division shares some words about the pilot trip

Sara: I spoke at a town hall meeting yesterday in Esse, saying that we have a long of work ahead of us, but it's a journey we'll take together. The people presented us with gifts. Each of us received a gorgeous wooden statue. Nemahun and I received traditional dresses, and Alex got a Samuel Eto'o jersey. I'm not sure why the other three didn't get some other gift. In both Ribang and Esse, there have been celebrations with music and dancing with wildly girating hips. It's been a lot of fun, and we've all participated. The people of Esse also cooked a huge feast for us yesterday, which was delicious. We were careful about what we ate, but they prepared it specially for us with an awareness of how to prevent foreigners from getting sick.



There's one observation that strikes me in particular: pregnancy is Russian roulette here. Women and their babies die because of fistula, eclampsia, and other labor complications because they cannot reach the hospital. Someone told us a story the other day of bringing a woman in labor to the hospital in a wheelbarrow. Frequently, people, with a range of conditions, die en route to the hospital because there is no medical transportation.

We're sleeping in sleeping bags at Samy's house. He's a doctor in a public hospital in Ngomou, a village near Yaounde. He's been extremely hospitable to us. Samy runs a charity in Cameroon that assists the disabled. He's also really jacked, so he can scare off anyone who tries to mess with us, not than anyone has. But he comes with us most days anyway with his friend Dupre, who is similarly jacked. We went to Samy's hospital three days ago. Apparenly the Cameroonian government has a program that provides free curative medication for children ages 0-5 with malaria. Some of the hospitals here have no electricity. Samy's does, but we visited a hospital near Esse yesterday without it. This means that they cannot store certain medications and reagents for lab tests.

Whatever discomfort we're experiencing from traveling abroad, it is difficult to get upset about it when we're around people who experience this to a much more severe extent every single day.

Posted by amphstravel 20:20 Archived in Cameroon Comments (0)

The Visit to Esse'

Kelly updates us with what it's like to visit the medical clinics and hospitals that AMPHS one day hopes to improve

Kelly: So we had a great few days, we have been visiting rural villages in different regions surrounding Yaounde. The differences between clinics and health care in the U.S. and Cameroon has been a huge culture shock for all of us to accept.




As our primary concern as a nonprofit is public health, these site visits and conversations with village people have been extremely helpful. We have also had the luck of meeting an incredible doctor named Sammy, who has provided us with valuable knowledge on the health conditions of people in Cameroon and has even personally given us a tour of the health clinic he works at.


Our visit to Esse' and its surrounding villages was quite an extravagant welcome and visit. We spent an hour driving on a bumpy dirt road through thick jungle to arrive at a secluded health clinic. This experience taught us how impossible access to health clinics is for local villagers who have no means of transportation to these clinics and often have to walk for hours to get to the nearest clinic. Pregnant women are often carried in wheel barrows, or just give up and give birth on the sides of roads without the help of any attendents.

After visiting rural rainforest areas, we conversed with the prominent political and medical figures from Esse' (the village that has a health clinic that serves more than 5,000 people and a large rural area and population) over a feast that included speeches, gift giving and a singing and dancing performance by the local people.



Our busy schedules and packed itinerary has made it easy for us to sleep at night. We look forward to visiting many more villages in the upcoming days!

Posted by amphstravel 19:47 Archived in Cameroon Comments (0)

The First Impressions

Kelly's recollection of the group's first days in Cameroon:

After a long flight, we were warmly welcomed into Yaounde by a large group of Cameroonians at the airport.

Receiving Flowers

Receiving Flowers


We were then graciously invited to a feast prepared in our honor by the mother of Sylvestre! We got to meet many members of Sylvestre's family, bond with other humanitarian organization representatives, and have our first taste of real Cameroonian cuisine!

The feast! There was plenty of food for herbivores and omnivores alike

The feast! There was plenty of food for herbivores and omnivores alike

Lindsay, Sylvestre's niece, and Alex bonding at the welcome feast

Lindsay, Sylvestre's niece, and Alex bonding at the welcome feast

On our second day, we settled in by visiting a grocery store, solidifying plans and moving into the home of one of Sylvestre's friends who had kindly offered his home to us. Today we woke up bright and early to our first African rainstorm, which was beautiful, violent and refreshing.


After the rain passed we all headed to our official meeting with the representatives and chiefs of the villages where we would be visiting and distributing surveys. The meeting was extremely effective: we narrowed down our itinerary, set our plans for the next 22 days, and made positive connections with all the people we met.

Posted by amphstravel 04:40 Archived in Cameroon Comments (0)

The Cameroon Health Cooperative

Launching the pilot program for AMPHS International



Welcome to the official blog of The Cameroon Health Cooperative, the international pilot program of the Academy of Medical & Public Health Services - International Division (AMPHS International). Here, you will be able to follow along with the six AMPHS International team members who are dedicating their time and energy to realizing our organization's mission. Regular updates about their daily activities, as well as the status of their safety and health, will be posted in accordance to updates received from the group.

Since AMPHS International doesn't officially touch down in Cameroon until May 31, posted below is some background information on the organization, along with a description of the Cameroon Health Cooperative.

Children preparing food

Children preparing food

AMPHS is a humanitarian nonprofit organization operated solely by volunteers, dedicated to advancing the health care of underprivileged communities across the nation and around the world. We accomplish our goals by providing free and low-cost community activities that forge a firm foundation for the improvement of health and well-being.

More specifically, AMPHS International supports communities around the globe that lack access to resources like basic sanitary infrastructure, information on disease prevention, and emergency medical care. We work with these underserved communities to create holistic systems of health services that will elicit sustainable improvements in community health, leading to a more just and equitable world.

The lack of funding in Cameroon for the medical and sanitary needs of its population results in inadequate health-sustaining institutions, infrastructure and education. In other words, the hospitals, ambulances, toilets, and water purification systems, among other resources, are not enough to meet the
needs of the people. Below are some eye-opening statistics on the medical inequalities currently existing in Cameroon:

  • HIV is more than 10 times more prevalent in Cameroon than in the United States
  • The response time of Cameroonian ambulance services can take up to four hours, with ambulances driving as much as 130 miles to reach those in need (the average response time in the United States is just eight minutes and 48 seconds)
  • 47.9% of Cameroon's disease burden consists of preventable water-borne illnesses such as dysentery and cholera (Less than one percent of Americans are afflicted by such diseases)

The health services system currently in place for the global community requires money in exchange for a person’s health. What the Cameroon Health Cooperative hopes to accomplish is a successful implementation of educational programs that will empower people so that they can rely on themselves for their own health needs.

During the first trip to Cameroon in the month of June, AMPHS International members plan to engage in participatory ranking methodology with the chiefs and other leaders from at least ten villages. With these discussions, the organization will gain a better understanding of the health needs of the communities. Subsequent trips will include facilitating more discussions, administering detailed community health surveys, conducting community and emergency health worker training, and building sanitary infrastructure to support improvements in community health.

Man and child with shoes

Man and child with shoes

Stay tuned for further updates on the Cameroon Health Cooperative and AMPHS International in the coming month!

Posted by amphstravel 10:33 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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