St Odile is the largest Health Centre in Edea, Littoral Region, but it doesn’t have clean drinking water and it doesn’t have a reliable electricity supply. It sees around 2000 patients annually, including mothers with premature babies from across the whole area. The Centre has six incubators but they often experience power cuts that can last a week. When this happens, premature babies have to be rushed to Douala hospital, over 60 kms away. The mothers usually cannot afford to pay for this urgent transport and, despite being given Kangaroo care, the chance of the babies’ survival is only 50/50. Because of this situation, St Odile can lose as many as 10 premature babies each year. It is heartbreaking for all concerned.
We haven’t got the funds to provide the centre with drinking water yet, but we were very pleased to be able to provide sufficient funds to get two solar panels fitted to the roof of the health centre and the necessary batteries and inverters to step up the current to 220 volts. These panels now power two of the incubators and the vaccine fridge at St Odile and, since their installation in early November, the lives of three babies have already been saved.
COVID-19 has prevented our trustees from being able to visit Cameroon this year, so we were really delighted when the British High Commissioner for Cameroon, Rowan Laxton, was able to be present on our behalf at the handover ceremony for this project on 3rd December.