America is a country where people come to live freely but some countries aren’t afforded the same opportunities. Cameroon is a country in central west Africa bordering Nigeria. And getting the proper medical care has become harder to get.
Calvin Hohn who is currently in Cameroon with the Cameroon Baptist Convention has gotten to experience the magic first hand.
“Patients have to provide absolutely everything, from bed sheets to syringes, to medicine, bandages, to whatever it is that the doctors and nurses need to treat them. Family members have to go into town to local pharmacies and buy that stuff to bring back to the hospitals,” says Hohn.
The Cameroon Baptist Convention, also known as the CBC, was established in 1954 by the mission work done by The North American Baptist Association.
“I saw what the local organization was doing was meeting real needs in health and education and community development that the government wasn’t able to provide so that when churches stepped in and started providing this,” says Hohn.
The CBC runs 12 large hospitals, 25 community clinics, and about 50 primary clinics with over 5,000 employees helping to run these institutions. But what makes them so special is that they don’t turn away patients, no matter if they can afford the care or not. In order for the CBC to get the medical supplies they need, they established the White Cross Ministry. Under the ministry, supplies are sent from North America to Cameroon.
“Part of the work that they’ve been doing out here since the 20s and 30s especially excelling in the 1950s is medical work,” says Hohn.
In November of 2020, the White Cross Ministry found a new home at Century Baptist Church in Bismarck, North Dakota. Century Baptist Church serves as the hub where shipments are organized and shipped out to Cameroon. Paul Herr, the local director of the White Cross Ministry, says he’s seen the growth of the partnership that began over a century ago.
“We have a partnership with Cameroon that we’ve had for well over a decade and they asked us if we’d be interested in taking on the White Cross Ministry that has been a part of the North American Baptist Conference for over 100 years,” says Herr.
All equipment is donated by churches or hospitals. Herr says supplies can range from bandages to larger needs like hospital chairs and beds.
“Many times there’s an excess in hospitals or clinics so any hospital or clinic that has items they need to switch out or extra, we’re open to taking a look at what those are and seeing if that’s an actual so that we can get that over to them,” says Herr. “It takes about 5 to 6 months to gather enough supplies and to ship. It’s an ongoing process and we have volunteers from the church come in 2 to 3 times a month.”
Century Church’s goal is to ship 2 C containers a year, which are 40 ft high cube containers. These organizations are helping over a million patients in Cameroon a year.
“In places like this, in so many places in the world, the majority of the world does not have access to even minimal basic care,” says Hohn.
The process of getting the supplies across the world is not easy, but well worth it. For more information about the White Cross and how to help, click here.