On July 18th, 2020, we carried out the third phase of our "Provide Masks and Hand Sanitizers For Sickle Cell Warriors" in Yaounde.
After diligent planning behind the scenes with those who make up my A Team Dr Michael Budzi and Ms Olivia Acha Morfaw, our D- day arrived.
To be able to reach our target number of 150 persons with sickle cell in Yaounde, especially as we could not make open publicity to invite warriors due to the ongoing COVID 19 and the need to avoid over crowded places, we collaborated with another warrior who came with some warriors she works with.
We started at 8am with about 50 warriors and their parents. Initially, it was easier to maintain the social distancing requirement in place. However, the warriors started trickling in and by the time we ended at about 10am, we were looking at about 150 warriors.
Thankfully, we were prepared for the possible number but it was tricky to maintain the social distancing. Fortunately, those to talk were well prepared and did their parts briefly but meaningfully.
Dr Budzi, the Dr in charge of the Sickle Cell Clinic at the Etougebe Baptist Hospital, Yaounde, welcomed everyone and emphasized on the COVID 19 and what warriors need to do to continue to keep safe, stressing the need to remain vigilant even if others are not because of the risk group we are in.
After his welcome, there was a word of prayer from the audience and then Dr Therese, Chief Medical Officer of the Etougebe Baptist Hospital Yaounde, officially opened the prorgam.She also laid emphasis on the need to stay safe, practice basic hygiene and be vigilant.
Dr Budzi continued with a demonstration on the proper way to wash our hands and apply hand sanitizers.
We next listened to the Chief Pharmacist, Mr Gideon who did a step- by- step explanation on how to make simple, alcohol based hand sanitizers at home. This knowledge was helpful because so many warriors find it challenging to afford drugs. Buying hand sanitizers regularly too would be an added challenge. We are hopeful this step- by- step explanation would help when possible, to offset the cost of buying regularly for those who find it difficult to do so, so that, they always have it handy.
Also, a warrior Ms Frida Bessem was called up to share her story so as to inspire others. She did an excellent job talking about her life and what she does to stay healthy and positive, encouraging warriors to be proactive in their care and not let society limit or put them in a box.
One of our partners The Babila-Boye Arise4Africa Foundation had her representative present who spoke about being happy to collaborate with us and some of the things they do to help the vulnerable and needy across Africa.
Yours truly said a few words on why we are doing what we do and encouraging warriors to stay joyful and happy as they continue to endure, emphasising the need to stay vigilant and continue to practice basic hygiene and the other points against COVID 19. Also, thanked our partners and donors whose support made things possible.
At the end, light refreshments and water were distributed. Gift bags containing masks and hand sanitizers were also distributed. By 10am, everything was over and the warriors left. Those who were regulars at the clinic, had their monthly follow up. We stepped in to pay for the medications of two warriors that day who had difficulties meeting up their needs.
We had an interpreter present who interpreted for the French speaking people. Our sign language intepreter unfortunately, came in very late.
Everyone left happy from the feedbacks I received later.. Yaounde made the third town we are having our outreach since we kicked start it in Douala on World Sickle Cell Day June 19th. Bamenda was the next town we went to, bringing us to a combined total of 304 persons reached in three towns.
It was a truly fulfilling day. I was so happy that I did a spin which was well captured by someone taking pictures. I ended up liking the picture.
Truly, nothing beats the joy of making others feel happy and that is why we are a #Joy2Endure.