Akum Holy Family Medical Center (Providing holistic, affordable, accessible , quality preventive and curative care)
The Holy Family Medical Center Akum, is 17 km from the North West Region Capital town Bamenda, and is run by the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary since 1967, providing vital health care services for Akum rural village population of around 10,000. In addition, the Center’s services has expanded to 27 other remote rural communities in the North West, Western and South West Regions.
Holy Family Medical Center in Akum village includes outpatient services, a 76 bed inpatient wards, a diagnostic laboratory, an operating theatre, a mortuary and 24 hours Emergency Service
Our Vision is to provide a holistic, affordable and improved quality health care, to give services to All, especially to the poor and vulnerable, especially mother/child, people living with HIV/AIDS and those suffering from TB.
Our Mission is to work in collaboration with God and according to the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary Charism to offer a holistic, affordable, accessible and quality curative and preventive health care to ALL people with a particular interest in the poor, mothers, children, people living with HIV/AIDS and those suffering from TB.
A School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Sister O’Brien worked with the Catholic Education or the Catechetical Team in the Archdiocese of Barnenda during 1987-1997. Then she had the opportunity to pass through several villages where she also visited the schools. In a conversation with Pa Peter Shinwin Atanga, she explained that: “In most of these villages, we met children with various, disabilities – physical, mental, deaf and dumb. Those with physical disabilities were refered to SAJOCAH, Bafut. I felt a strong desire to address the issue of these children somehow by raising awareness in this regards, toward opening up opportunities for their education.” “Our religious movement gave me permission to work full time with the disabled children and their families. In addition, our Mission Authorities on this matter formerly informed the then Archbishop of I Imenda, His Grace Monsignor Paul Verdzekov. He did not hesitate to approving our intention..” I began to work in Akum, where I live, since mid-January 2002. There are 14 quarters within Akum and I visited all. Indeed, I discovered 106 persons with disabilities – 12 physical, 16 deaf or dumb; and the rest with mental disabilities, ranging form mild to severe conditions. “I began to attend weekly Quarter-Head meetings where I raised awareness about the children, and the concern of our mission authorities. The Quarter-Heads agreed to gather the children identified with infirmities described above with their parents in the respective quarters. Informed about the gatherings, then I met them where we discussed the whole situation. Most of these meetings were very well attended and the parents were given the opportunity to express their feelings about their handicapped children and what each had tried to do to solve the problem. Many suggestions were proffered and amongst them was a strong desire for the education of the children. Thus emerged the idea of a “School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Akum.” Furthermore, I visited the men and women’s groups in Akum in relation to the same subject. Also, many suggestions were made in the same vein ranging from Formal Education to a Day-Care Centre. In fact, because of the presence of 16 dumb children the idea of a special primary school for their education emerged. SAJOCAH, Bafut advised me to meet the Catholic Education Secretary, Fr. Evaristus Yufanyi for the possibility of opening a school in Akum, for The Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Fr. Evaristus Yufanyi bought the idea and arranged with the manager of catholic schools, Akum, regarding accommodating such a school next to the existing Catholic Primary school here. The Akum School’s Manager quickly deployed two teachers from the field, who were trained in sign language and Lip Reading. “The school went operational in September 2003. There were 23 children registered at that time. Most of these children were from within the Akum Area and 19 from the Mankon Town area”
Sister Kathleen O’Brien revealed that some limited funding was then made available to pay the two teachers’ salaries for the school year 2002/2003. A third was expected to join the staff for school year 2003/2004. Parents were asked to pay registration fee, insurance fee, provide uniform and writing materials. Besides, they were advised to take responsibility for their children when the school was over. It is remarkable to note that most parents are small farmers and could not possibly pay school fees, which could be high, owing to the small number of these children, and also given the nature of the school. Parents also were not to pay for such children as yet, given the general mentality of most families here regarding persons with such disabilities. They generally sympathize with their child caught up in these disabilities but think that there is not much to be done for them than when this school was established.