Community Health Fairs
Manyu Community Free Healthcare Day May 8 2010 Comprehensive Report.
On May 5th 2010, the Manyu Community under the leadership of Chief Tabenyang Etchu and Dr. Martin Ojong, launched a first ever health campaign for the Cameroonian Community. The venue for this event was the ultramodern Ulnacs Medical Care Center, Takoma Park, MD gracefully provided by Dr Godswill Okoji.
Before the event kicked off at 9 am, a line of participants was waiting at the door. A little over 100 participants attended including participants from all 10 provinces of Cameroon (including a representative from the Cameroon Embassy USA), Chad, Nigeria, Sudan, and DRC. The youngest participant was 5 years old and the oldest was 72 years old. Each participant received an initial assessment by nurses and then seen by a physician. Interested participants received laboratory screening for liver, kidney, diabetes, cholesterol, electrolytes, anemia, colon cancer and prostate cancer assessment for a small participatory fee. Primary care, ophthalmologic, gynecologic and men’s health services were provided.
Data obtained from the campaign show that a little over 75% of the participants (3 in every 4) were either underinsured or uninsured. A new health issue was discovered (diagnosed) in 1 in 4 participants. Of these participants, 1 in 6 had medical issues that require urgent to emergent attention. Each participant was educated on their health issues and follow-up care was arranged at Ulnacs Medical Care Center or County Health Services. Two participants received follow-up care free of charge at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda MD (a cost of close to 76,000 dollars). At least two more participants are poised to receive similar services at the NIH.
The dedication of our own healthcare professionals (doctors, pharmacists, nurses) and Chapter Chief made this event possible. Multiple preparatory meetings were held at Drs. Martin and Charlotte Ojong’s house. Dr. Martin Ojong rallied the physician group, organized the laboratory services and arranged for the venue. Mrs. Pricilla Ayuk coordinated the nurses and other support staff. At the end, physicians from major academic medical centers (Georgetown University, George Washington, Johns Hopkins and others), nurses, pharmacists and other staff provided their services at no charge to our community. Finally, the enormous dedication and participation of the entire community contributed immensely to the success of the event.
After careful analyses of the campaign and results, one could draw the following conclusions;
there is an urgent need for healthcare services in our community and other communities
our community has the resources and the personnel to provide such services.
I believe that we of MECA-DC can collaborate with other groups to develop a health system or plan that will identify our health problems quickly and address them to prevent devastating consequences. Such an endeavor requires an unprecedented community participation and leadership. MECA-DC has the community and leaders to take on this challenge. The big question is “can we?”
By Sean Agbor-Enoh (MD, PhD)
Breast Health screening
According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), breast cancer is
The most common cancer in women, no matter their race or ethnicity.
The most common cause of death from cancer among Hispanic women.
The second most common cause of death from cancer among white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native women.
These data is not only bleak, it calls for immediate action. In addressing this problem, that also happens to coincide with part of our mission of “ensuring a healthy community”, the association, courtesy of one of its members, Dr. Martin Ojong-Ntui, collaborated with the George Washington University and organized a Breast Health Screening event that was open to the public.
Please see event report.