cameroonParis Esseiengbot, under the auspices of the Congregation of the Sisters of Divine Providence was founded in 1945. It consists of 80 villages with the population of 9000 people and is situated in one of the poorest regions of Cameroon. The only means of support is farming and because they have no way of taking their products to market, they cultivate to feed themselves. Although the health center is new, it is still primitive, evidenced by the lack of an indoor bathroom. The goal of the Sisters is to provide professional medical help for the community and particularly for the young children. The health center is open 24 hours a day and serves 30 patients per day. The major medical issues are malaria, typhus and AIDS. The children are particularly vulnerable because of the prevalence of AIDS in their parents and are under special nutritional care. Although the Sisters travel long distances to provide medical advice in homes, people who are told to go to the local hospital often do not make it either because of impassible roads or because they are turned away because of overcrowding. Often, the battle for life takes place in the health center.

The situation in Cameroon, as in other African countries with dense populations of people living in rural areas without sanitation, clean water or consistent medical care, contributes to poor prenatal health and early mortality rates for children.

Prenatal and Antenatal care for at least 4 visits 60%
Life expectancy at birth 53 years
Maternal mortality 606 per 100,000- 6%
Number of children who die at 5 years or younger 154 per 1000- 15%

Causes of death of children 5 years and younger:

Malaria 19%
Pneumonia 18%
Diarrhea 16%
Prematurity 8%

AORF is sending life saving medication to orphans and children at high risk in Cameroon  and hoping to extend the children’s lives past their fifth birthday.