Banso Baptist Hospital Kumbo, Cameroon

Hospital Website
Mission Organization
Cameroon Baptist Convention
Banso Baptist Hospital is located in the Northwest Region (province) of Cameroon. It is a 238-bed facility, including (104) medical, (44) surgical, (104) medical, (51) pediatrics, and (39) OBG. Staff includes (1) American IM, (1) Cameroonian ophthalmologist, (2) Cameroonian general surgeons (PAACS trained), (1) British Palliative Care physician, (5) Cameroonian FPs and (1) Nigerian dentist. Banso provides services to over 92,000 outpatients and 8,000 inpatients annually.
Fly by commercial air to the city of Douala. The following morning you will begin an 8.5 hour drive to the hospital, the majority of the time on a paved road. Upon arrival at Banso Hospital, volunteers meet with the hospital administrator for a briefing on the administrative structure of the hospital and functional approach. This meeting is followed by a hospital tour.
Temperatures range from 55°–85°F. Humidity varies from 40%–80%. The rainy season is March–October. The dry season is November–February. No air conditioning is needed at the altitude of 5,500 feet. The mountainous scenery of the Bamenda plateau is beautiful.
English, French, and Pidgin English are the primary languages spoken at the hospital. Several African vernacular languages are also used. Translators are available for patient interaction.
There are (9) operating tables located in (6) rooms with (2) tables designated for eye surgeries. A limited number of endoscopy is done, but no fluoroscopy or laparoscopic capability. Fine needle aspirations can be performed. No portable X-ray in the operating rooms. Surgeries are performed daily. The hospital performs over 1,600 major and 4,300 minor operations each year. Anesthesia is done by nurse-anesthetists. Pathology specimens are sent to Mbingo Baptist Hospital for preparation and reading.
Draw-over equipment is used rather than plenum equipment. Draw-over does not require pressurized oxygen which is difficult and expensive to obtain. Types of anesthesia include spinal, Ketamine, and GA with LMA or intubation/paralysis, as needed. Halothane is the only inhalation agent.
Two operating tables available for eye surgeries. The ophthalmology suite has a 20 power microscope with capability to perform cataract surgeries. Surgeries are performed Tuesday and Thursday with Monday, Wednesday, and Friday designated as clinic days. Visiting short term ophthalmologists’ primary role would be teaching new techniques and assisting the full-time Cameroonian ophthalmologist.
The primary urologic issues at Banso are urinary retention, urethral strictures, VVFs post-partum, and undescended testes.
Adult Medicine
Over half the adult inpatients are HIV positive. Opportunistic infections, especially TB, are common. Other diseases seen are those common in North America, with an increasing number of oncology patients.
The hospital has over 1,300 deliveries each year, with a high rate of twins and triplet births compared to North America. The hospital has many high-risk deliveries and obstetrical complications referred from outlying health centers. There is high infertility in the region. OB/GYN volunteers are needed to work with and teach the general surgeons on GYN cases, and to teach all the physicians obstetrical management.
The 51-bed pediatrics ward includes a separate (8) bed intensive care unit with additional emergency equipment. There is also a (9) bed ward for Burkitt’s lymphoma children, and an extensive Burkitt's education and treatment program, supervised by a pediatric oncologist from South Africa and locally run by a Burkitt's-trained physician and nurse. Volunteer pediatricians are needed to work with and teach the general practitioners and nurse-practitioner who manage the pediatrics wards.
Radiology services are busy, with over 4,500 X-rays and 6,500 ultrasounds done annually. There is a fixed x-ray machine and ultrasound machine. Echocardiography is available. There is no long-term radiologist on staff.
Dental procedures, including making dentures, are performed by a Cameroonian dentist assisted by dental technicians.
Lab Tests
Comparable US range of lab tests is available. No cultures are done.
Common Diseases/Trauma
System-wide, the four leading diseases treated at the hospitals are malaria, URTI/LRTI, gastritis/PUD, and hypertension. The leading causes of death are AIDS, malaria, and road/traffic accidents. HIV prevalence is decreasing gradually. About 4% of potential blood donors are positive for HIV, and about 21% of all hospitalized patients are positive. The most common “notifiable” disease is TB, seen two-and-a-half times more often than typhoid fever, and three times more than cerebrospinal meningitis. Polio, human rabies, yellow fever, and leprosy are uncommon. The general surgery services cover a broad spectrum of surgical diseases including pediatric, adult, obstetric (C-sections), and gynecologic surgery. Traumatic fractures and soft tissue injuries present regularly.
For More Information
Contact Carly Poor by email or by phone at: (828) 588-1274.