Banso Baptist Hospital Kumbo, Cameroon

Hospital Website
Mission Organization
Cameroon Baptist Convention
The Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Board seeks to assist in the provision of care to all who need it as an expression of Christian love and as a means of witness, in order that they might be brought to God through Christ. Thus, the Health Board shall provide exemplary healthcare with genuine compassion, with the overriding purpose of evangelical witness.
Banso Baptist Hospital is located in the Northwest Region (province) of Cameroon. It is a 315+-bed facility, including 161 medical, 59 surgical, 51 pediatrics, and 50 OBG. Staff includes one American IM, one Cameroonian IM, two American FM-Psych. dual-boarded, one Cameroonian ophthalmologist, one Congolese-DRC general surgeon (PAACS trained), one Nigerian general surgeon, 5-10 Cameroonian house officers, and one Cameroonian dentist. Banso provides services to over 94,000 outpatients and 8,000 inpatients annually.

Banso Baptist Hospital is the oldest and second largest hospital of the Cameroon Baptist Convention. For over 60 years, the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Board (CBCHB) has continued to strive in the provision of high quality, affordable, and accessible services to those in need. The CBCHB institutions are distributed in six of the 10 regions in Cameroon. The board has seven hospitals, 30 integrated health centers, and 54 rural primary healthcare posts. The CBCHB provides holistic healthcare services, integrating physical and spiritual care, including preventative, curative, and rehabilitative medicine. Special services and programs include the HIV/AIDS Care and Prevention Program, central pharmacy (which does some manufacturing), private training school for health personnel, life abundant primary healthcare, maternal-child health, technical services department (building projects), healthcare technology unit, chaplaincy services, residency programs in surgery and internal medicine (Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons, PAACS, and Christian Internal Medicine Specialization, CIMS), and Services for People with Disabilities.

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°–90°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. With a good agricultural growing season, malnutrition is rare.
English, French, and Pidgin English are the primary languages spoken at the hospital. Several African vernacular languages also are used. Translators are available for patient interaction.
There are nine operating tables located in six rooms with two tables designated for eye surgeries. Endoscopy is conducted, and a laparoscopic machine is available. Fine needle aspirations can be performed. No portable X-ray in the operating rooms, but a computer is available for the viewing of the digital X-ray images from the X-ray system in place. Surgeries are performed daily. The hospital performs over 2,300 major and 5,800 minor operations each year. Anesthesia is administered 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. There is a great need to train more nurses.
Two operating tables are available for eye surgeries. The ophthalmology suite has a 20-power microscope and another modern one with capability to perform eye 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. 11,700 patients are seen annually.
The primary urologic issues at Banso are urinary retention, urethral strictures, VVFs post-partum, and undescended testes.
Adult Medicine
8.7% of the patients 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 the lone gynecologist and teach the general surgeons on GYN cases, and to teach all the physicians obstetrical management.
The 45-bed pediatrics ward includes a separate eight-bed intensive care unit with additional emergency equipment. There is also a nine-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 7,000 X-rays and 7,400 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. 5,700 patients are seen annually.
Lab Tests
Comparable U.S. range of lab tests is available. Cultures are done. The laboratory attends to 58,610 patients a year.
Common Diseases/Trauma
System-wide, the four leading diseases treated at the hospitals are hypertension, HIV, malaria, and gastritis/PUD. The leading causes of death are AIDS, pneumonia, malaria, and cancers/tumors. HIV prevalence is decreasing gradually. About 1.3% of potential blood donors are positive for HIV, and less than 8.7% of all hospitalized patients are positive. The most common “notifiable” disease is typhoid fever, seen two times more often than TB. Cerebrospinal meningitis is still a problem. Yellow fever, leprosy, and human rabies 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.
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