What is the Total Health Program?
Our Total Health Program shores up critical gaps in the current health system of Northwest Cameroon. Cameroon is home to approximately 20.5 million people, and the average life expectancy is 52 years, with a majority dying of preventable communicable diseases. In 2013 alone, our Health Centers and Health Education activities reached over 80,000 people in Northwest Cameroon.
BELOW IS A LOOK AT OUR TWO PART MODEL…
Part 1: Our Health Centers
The Total Health Center delivers health solutions to isolated rural populations in Cameroon. The core activities of the Health Center are providing health consultations; pharmacy services and treatments.
Our free health consultations give thousands of people access to care they otherwise could not afford or reach. The Health Center has regular walk-in hours during which people can request a private consultation to discuss their health history and current illnesses and complaints, as well as ask any questions they may have. After the consultation, patients receive a treatment plan comprised of herbal medicine, homeopathy, and yoga therapy.
The Health Center pharmacy offers a range of products such as herbal medicine, homeopathy, medicinal oil and rubs, other natural health products, tooth brushes, and reading glasses. Our Total Health products are safe, effective, and extremely affordable, offering patients an excellent alternative to pharmaceutical drugs and other health products on the market.
Health Consultant Training
Our Health Center programs all start by having local health consultants, who are trained in the community’s most prevalent health issues, including digestive tract ailments, joint pain and arthritis, cough and cold, fever, blood sugar problems, anxiety, and depression. Our training program covers the Total Health philosophy with a strong emphasis on hands-on experience in basic public health education and dispensary services.
Certified Consultant Affiliates
In addition to Health Center-based consultation and pharmacy services, we have a strong network of Certified Consultant Affiliates who expand the reach of the Health Center even farther into the community. These individuals have taken part in our Health Consultant Training and have subsequently returned to their home villages to offer consultation and pharmacy services independently.
For those who are unable to come to the Health Center but are motivated to be proactive in treating and preventing illness, we have created Self-Treatment Kiosks which can be found in pharmacies, supermarkets, and other locations. The Kiosks are equipped with herbal medicines, select homeopathic remedies, medicinal oil and ointment, and tooth brushes, as well as a symptom-treatment guide which allows patients to determine what medicine they need.
Mobile Health Clinics
Mobile Health Clinics bring health solutions directly to patients. Each week the mobile team, drive to a different community with a vehicle full of medicinal products. A temporary Total Health Center is set up alongside the vehicle, complete with a private consultation room. The back of the vehicle becomes the pharmacy where patients go to fill their prescriptions. Each time the Total Health Center mobile unit visits a community, 100–200 free consultations are given.
Herbal Medicine Production
The Total Health Center’s herbal products are produced in Cameroon and use herbs grown locally. This local manufacturing style is the first in the country and combines age-old treatments and modern production methods. By growing medicinal herbs in the communities that need them, the Total Health Center provides affordable health options without being dependent on long-distance supply chains, and creates income for the growers.
Part Two: Our Public Health Education
Access to health knowledge and education is greatly lacking in the general population. Our Health Education classes and Awareness efforts are aimed at addressing this knowledge gap, significantly increasing health knowledge and improving long-term health outcomes.
Health classes are taught throughout the region by our trained Community Health Educators. These free classes are hosted by hundreds of community partner organizations and are typically attended by 50-100 individuals. Topics include basic public health, first aid, diet and nutrition, maternal and child health, men’s and women’s health, and stress and emotional health. Classes include both lecture and interactive demonstrations and are designed to be easily understood and culturally appropriate.
Our broad sensitization and awareness activities utilize radio, television, loudspeaker announcements, posters, marketing agents, and other print media to reach tens of thousands. The goal of our awareness efforts is to bring about large-scale change by engaging the general population and creating a culture surrounding health.
Developing partnerships with social groups, schools, local businesses, traditional leaders, and local and national government—our social infrastructure—is a key aspect of our health work. Outreach activities engage and mobilize the community, motivating them to take part in educational classes and other Total Health Programs.
Community Health Educator Training
In order to offer health education classes we need a strong team of local educators. This is accomplished through Community Health Educator Training—an intensive training course and hands-on teaching internship. Upon completion, educators are prepared to share their knowledge with the community and act as local health resources.