“Our health is our wealth” is a phrase the humanitarian team overhears when they make site visits to Cameroon, West Africa.
The Total Health Program, part of Himalayan Institute Cameroon, serves an impoverished rural population in an English-speaking area in and around Kumbo, Cameroon. In this part of the world, basic health knowledge and what many consider common health practices are sadly lacking. People suffer, and die, from diseases that are often preventable, usually linked to poverty and controllable lifestyle factors. The good news is that the Total Health Program is changing this.
The core of the Total Health Program is the Total Health Center, offering three distinct components of direct care:
Patients that come in to the Center receive a free individual consultation from a trained health consultant. The consultation encompasses:
- a full checkup (documenting height and weight, pulse, blood pressure)
- treatment advice
- lifestyle counseling
- health education
For some patients, lifestyle modifications to reduce stress and follow-up biofeedback sessions are in order. For other patients, natural medicine, dental hygiene products, or reading glasses may be recommended. Basic health education is a cornerstone of every visit. This holistic approach to health care is the first of its kind in this region, and possibly the nation. Providing a comprehensive treatment plan, the consultant goes beyond healing an ailment and provides the tools and means to avoid future suffering. More important, the patients understand the advice and feel comfortable taking natural medicines. When they leave the Total Health Center, they feel they are empowered to take charge of their own health: in their own words, their health is their wealth. It is no wonder that the Total Health Center now averages 60 consultations per month, and demand is growing.
The health consultant at the Total Health Center recommends appropriate natural, holistic treatments that range from nutritional supplements to ayurvedic herbal products to homeopathy. The products are conveniently available at the adjacent Total Health Pharmacy, a pharmacy stocked with locally made, natural products.
Mobile Health Clinic
The Mobile Health Clinic serves the villagers in the Bui region, outside the town of Kumbo, where health care access is limited. The Mobile Clinic takes a consultant from the Total Health Center, along with natural products and herbal medicine from the Total Health Pharmacy, to make regular visits to remote areas, providing consultations and community health education.
We measure the success of our efforts from the enthusiastic personal testimonials, the lifestyle changes, and the increase in consultations at the Total Health Center. We dramatically expanded our community health education last summer and now see a 50 percent increase in consultations at the Total Health Center. We plan to grow our Total Health Program even more in 2014 with outreach efforts, community health education, and individual consultations—we hope you will join us, support us, and share our story with your friends and family.