The Hospital in Petté, Maroua, Cameroon was founded in 1968 by Dr. A.-M. Schönenberger and has since been supported by the Fondation Sociale Suisse du Nord-Cameroun.
In May 2010, we, the SHfS, concluded a contract with the FSS with the aim of improving the treatment of children with facial malformations at this hospital. Maroua is located in the very north of Cameroon, on the edge of the Sahel region, the population is extremely poor and there are many children with such malformations. The first step was to procure a functioning anaesthesia apparatus for the hospital, at the same time two surgeons and an anaesthetist went there for further training.
At the beginning of 2012 the next mission of the Swiss anaesthesiologist Dr. Jacqueline Nicolet and the German facial surgeon Dr. Götz Ehmann was planned, unfortunately it had to be cancelled as the government blocked all European trips to the north because of the Boko Haram attacks.
This is still valid today. The hospital is runned by local forces, in constant contact with the Foundation in Switzerland, and apparently they do a very good job. A further expansion of facial surgery, as planned, is unfortunately not possible at the moment.
Hôpital CEBEC, Douala
For a short time we supported Dr. Etienne Nguidjoi Mboua in the south of Cameroon, who set up a treatment centre for children with cleft lip and palate at the local hospital. Dr. Nguidjoi, a nativ surgeon, was originally trained in cleft surgery by a Swiss foundation at our partners in India. He negotiated contracts with the CEBEC hospital in Bonaberi, Douala himself, we initially equipped him with instruments and apparatus and financed the operations for the needy children. At the same time two missions by several members of the SHfS took place. This cleft centre was subsequently transferred into the DCKH.
Maaruti Hospital and Chinmaya Mission Hospital Bangalore
At the beginning of our activity we cooperated with the facial surgeon Prof. Krishna Rao from Mangalore. He founded the Maaya Foundation in southern India, which later became the ABMSS (Akila Bharatha Mahila Seva Samaja), with the aim of training Indian doctors and dentists in facial surgery and establishing a centre in each state for free treatment of children with such malformations.
In Bangalore he was able to set up a department at the Chinmaya Mission Hospital, where not only the usual facial malformations such as cleft lip and palate could be operated on, but also the very rare, severe facial malformations. Soon after the opening of this center, a number of trading companies were found that were willing to finance this new center. In Bangalore many large domestic and foreign combines are settled, which recently, under a new law, are obliged to invest 2% of their annual profits in charity projects.
That`s why our Indian colleagues asked us to help financing other centres outside the big city.
In 2012, we began supporting Dr. Jayanth B S, who had been operating on children with LKG clefts at the Coorg Institute for Dental Sciences for some time, by financing the treatment of all poor cleft patients. Since the Coorg Institute belonged to an university in Bangalore, Dr. Jayanth was very interested in a collaboration between him and his hospital and our member PD Dr. Giorgio La Scala, facial surgeon at the HUG, University Hospital in Geneva. In 2014, a MoU was concluded between the two partners for the purpose of clinical and scientific collaboration to optimize the multidisciplinary treatment of cleft patients. Recently all patients from Coorg are treated in Mysore, although the MoU is not affected.
In Mysore the situation was different. Dr. Manu Prasad, a young oral surgeon whom we came to know in Bangalore, wanted to set up a new centre there. He found support in St. Joseph’s Hospital, which had a good infrastructure, where a good paediatric anaesthetist, an ear specialist and a paediatrician were already working. The conditions were optimal.The official inauguration took place in August 2013 in the presence of the Bishop of Mysore and representatives of SHfS and DCKH. Soon a speech therapist and some fieldworkers joined the team.
Dr. Jayanth and Dr. Manu Prasad worked together from the very beginning, as the two hospitals are only half a day away from each other. This has optimized their experience and skills. Both are now setting up another centre in the Bangalore region, with Dr Manu continuing to work there and in Mysore. Our Indian partners have now found enough local donors for the entire centre in Mysore.