You might remember Benson Nfon Tanjong, president of the Cameroon North Westerner’s Association of Anesthetics (CAMNOWAA), from the photo below. It was taken last year in front of the available monitoring equipment at his hospital – none of it functioning:
Lifebox sent an oximeter and the hospital found funding to buy some additional units. But Benson told us some very difficult stories about his anaesthesia practice, and we knew that these few units wouldn’t be enough to keep patients safely monitored in the operating rooms across the region.
That was back in October. Coming on for a year later, we prefer to picture Benson from the photos below: behind the camera, in dappled sunlight, coordinating a workshop that has put 37 pulse oximeters into 19 hospitals across the north west region of Cameroon!
Benson introduced Lifebox to a congress of anaesthetists in May, in the port city of Douala. He reported that a significant number of operating rooms were without pulse oximeters, and that anaesthesia providers were eager – and impatient! – to put together a plan for a thorough needs assessment, workshop and rollout.
So things moved quickly. The date was fixed, and Benson spent several days traveling across the region to confirm invitations (the only time that pulse oximetry and party planning converge), the oximeters were shipped, local faculty secured, and after a brief tussle with customs clearance the CAMNOWAA Bamenda workshop was underway.
35 participants and five faculty arrived at the CBC Women’s Union from miles around, many taking precious time away from work to stay overnight in Bamenda and attend the workshop.
The faculty ran through the Lifebox education programme – tutorials exploring everything from the physiology of oxygen transport to how to clean a pulse oximeter probe, and clinical scenarios where anaesthesia providers were free to talk through the many different types of cases they needed to be able to handle on a daily basis.
“The education materials were just so splendid, especially the clinical scenarios which were very interactive,” Benson told us happily.
“The workshop registered a huge success, and I am very grateful about that,” he continued, a few days later. “It was really exciting. I am having so much pressure from other provinces as to when they will have their own oximeters.”
For more information about Lifebox workshops, and how you can get involved, please visit www.lifebox.org – we couldn’t say it better than Benson, your support would be just so splendid!