On January 15th, Bread For Life‘s nine volunteers from Florida, Georgia and Illinois joined others in Cameroon, Central Africa to carry out an annual medical outreach. Some of the personnel included Herman Jackson Downey MD, a family practitioner; Brenda Luna, a nurse practitioner from St. Vincent’s Hospital; Robyn Reaves, a nurse practioner from Baptist Hospital; Marci Hildebrant, an EMT from Grady Hospital Atlanta and Roxanne Cheek, a nursing student from Jacksonville, Florida.
This year, the team was thrilled to have supplies and equipment donated by the Henry Schein Cares Foundation. The volunteers provided medical exams, medications and dental care supplies to 800 patients in Nyasoso, Cameroon. They were also able to conduct numerous interactive demonstrations on proper tooth brushing techniques and the use of dental floss. The team provided lectures on nutrition and even made house calls for two elderly stroke victims.
The most common conditions witnessed while conducting the medical exams include malaria, respiratory disease, intestinal parasites, typhoid, dental infections, hypertension, diabetes, rickets, osteoporosis, and other diseases of malnutrition. Fungal infections, venereal disease, joint and limb pain, burns, fractures, and loss of vision were also common. In addition to each exam, each patient typically received one to two types of vitamins and a set of oral care products.
One of the fun memories I will always have is that as we were driving through the village early Saturday morning to start our journey home, we saw dozens of folks outside their homes using their new toothbrushes and paste. They had big smiles on their faces and some gleefully waved goodbye with their toothbrushes in hand. Nyasoso will be a much healthier place. Thanks Henry Schein! Roxanne Cheek DVM, Jackson Downey MD, Brenda Luna NP