Hospital Website

Mission: The Medical Centers of West Africa, Inc. (MCWA)

Profile: The hospital goes by the name “Hôpital de Meskine” (French) which in English simply means “Meskine Hospital”. The hospital, which opened in 1994 was a result of MCWA’s desire to evangelize and plant a church among the Fulani in Cameroon and has approximately 115 beds. Hopital de Meskine addresses a spectrum of health problems ranging from curative procedures (e.g. strangulated hernia repair), general surgery, C-sections, corrective surgery for leprosy patients, and physical therapy. The medical staff provides maternity services, and general medicine along with treatment in the outpatient clinic. They also have a well-run x-ray and sonogram department. The functioning lab offers a number of tests. The hospital has a well-stocked pharmacy and offers a basic list of medications that meets the needs of most patients. The outpatient clinic treats approximately 44,000 patients annually.

Time Difference: +5 hours Daylight Savings Time (EST), USA; +6 hours Eastern Standard Time, USA

Travel: You will fly into Yaounde, Cameroon and overnight at a guesthouse arranged by the hospital. With good scheduling of flights, the following morning you will fly a commercial airline from Yaoundé to Maroua. It is a twenty minute drive from the airport to Meskine.

Location: Cameroon is located in West Africa. Meskine is a quaint village located in the Far North Province of the country, 6 miles (10 km) from the regional capital of Maroua where most supplies can be found. The village has quite a few trees which offer shade for the principal roads.

People: Approximately 12,000 people live in Meskine and are primarily of the Fulani ethnic group. The average standard of living and the literacy rate are low. Most of the people have animals on small farms while others are merchants. Because of the high water table, there is some irrigation farming. Housing is generally mud-brick with either tin or thatched straw roofs. Some who can afford it have concrete homes.

Language: The primary language in Meskine is Fulfuldé. Some residents speak French, but few speak English. Also, many Arab speaking Chadians come to the hospital. Most hospital workers speak French.

Religion: Approximately 90% of the population is officially Muslim, although their religion is defined as Folk Islam, meaning a mixture of both traditional African religions and Islam. The Fulani are considered an “unreached people group,” meaning there is no organized church or Christian witness in their language and culture. God is working, and there are a number of converts in Cameroon.

Climate: The rainy season begins in June and lasts until early September. Though not as hot as other times of the year, it is rather humid. The high temperatures range from the upper 80’s to the lower 90’s from June through December. February through May is the hottest time of the year, with temperatures reaching the lower 100’s.

Surgery: There is (1) operating room with (2) tables and (2) minor rooms. Eight to ten major operations are performed on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Fewer surgeries are performed on Mondays and Wednesdays. When there is no expatriate general surgeon the Cameroonian scrub techs do the surgeries. Short term volunteer surgeons are expected to do some training with the scrub techs. Anesthesia is Ketamine or spinal. There is no endotracheal intubation.

For More Information: Contact Cathy Burleson via e-mail or by phone at (828) 278-1375.