On 26 March, a team of four people flew to Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon.
The team consisted of :
- Dr Constance Beyler, cardiopediatrician at the Robert Debré Hospital in Paris
- Esen Dalmaz, project manager at the Association's medical centre and coordinator of the mission
- Christian Blandin, volunteer
- Claire Bergonnier, Communication Officer of the Association
On site they were welcomed by Prof. David Chello, a Cameroonian cardiopediatrician who is very involved in his role as the Association's referral doctor, and a medical team.
For 6 days, they went from one consultation to another at the Chantal Biya Foundation. Every morning the waiting room was full and patience was required... especially after a long journey for families coming from remote areas. But no one complained and everyone waited in the hope of having their child seen by a doctor.
> See all the photos of the mission
The team met with 3 types of patients:
- Children who have already had surgeryas part of their medical follow-up. Most of them are in good shape, others will require a planned repeat surgery due to the complexity of their heart disease.
- Children whose cases were already under consideration but required further investigation.
- Cardiac children awaiting treatment, carefully selected by Professor Chelo, who wanted to present her colleague with the complex cases requiring collegial reflection.
The days went by at a steady pace, despite a few incidents such as the one on the first day, when a heavy storm broke out, causing a power cut and forcing theteam to continue their work by telephone light and with their feet in the water!
The children were first received in consultation by Dr Beyler and Esen Dalmaz, who coordinated the consultations, in order to carry out all the medical examinations (clinical examination, ultrasound, saturation, electrocardiogram). Then they went to Christian and Claire's office to complete a social survey. The aim was to find out about the child's standard of living, its history, and to obtain information that could be useful to the future foster family. Finally, every evening, the team worked very late to prepare the children's medical files without losing sight of the urgency of certain cases requiring rapid care.
A total of 125 children were consulted, 82 of whom have already been operated on and 43 of whom are waiting to be operated on and whose files are to be studied by the Association's medical staff.
Taking care of a child is a long journey, both for the families and for the Association's teams. Child surgery in France is only the tip of theiceberg. We must not lose sight of the titanic work carried out upstream, on a case-by-case basis, because each child is unique.
Stay tuned, we will soon give you news about the children who were seen during this mission in Cameroon!