A Mother’s Path from Pain 2 Peace: A Medical Mission to Lebialem Cameroon

With ten days left to go, we are putting everything together to organize a successful medical mission to the Lebialem Division in the South West Region of Cameroon. We have received some support so far, but we are still in urgent need of so much support. Kindly listen the Programme Director’s appeal, she who is equally the mother of late Gabriel Bebonbechem.

Thanking you in advance for your generosity,

Marie Abanga, Country Director Gbm-em Foundation

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Go Fund Us: No Donation is too small: Share our Campaign

Go fund us join and share our campaign

Go fund us join and share our campaign

The Board Chairman of the Gbm Foundation for Epilepsy and Mental Wellbeing (Chief Charles A. Taku) is inviting us all to help the medical mission to Lebialem. So many die from Ignorance, stigma, lack of hospitals or access to the few, no medications, and much more as such are our everyday plight; especially in the rural areas.

Statistics are alarming, over 10 million suffering from epilepsy in Africa. A 2016 Lancet Neurology report put Cameroon as one of the countries with the highest prevalence rate in the world.

We need medications and below is a list recommended by the lone public neurologist for the region

A PROFOMA INVOICE PUTS THE COST AT OVER 2.5 MILLION CFA FOR A 3 MONTHS TREATMENT PROTOCOL

A PROFOMA INVOICE PUTS THE COST AT OVER 2.5 MILLION CFA FOR A 3 MONTHS TREATMENT PROTOCOL

Show your support: https://www.gofundme.com/gbm4epilepsy

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Press Release by the Chairman of the Board/Gbm & OCA

The Gbm-em Team and the turn out of the second medical mission

The Gbm-em Team and the turn out of the second medical mission

Press Release by Chief Charles A. Taku

On the 15th anniversary of the transition into glory of Mama Helen ATABONG ASABA

O’tabong Charitable Association (OCA)
&
Gabriel BEBONBECHEM MBIAOH
Foundation for Epilepsy and Mental Wellbeing (gbm)

are pleased to invite you to participate in the

Medical Mission to Lebialem Division.

Sponsored by Dr. George BWELLE & his Ascovime team of medical experts.

Dates: April 21st & 22nd 2017
Purpose: Screen, diagnose & treat Epilepsy, diabetes and all other prevalent diseases in Lebialem and its environs.

Venue/hosting partner: Mary Health of Africa Hospital.

Partners/Sponsors:
ASCOVIME – Dr. Georges BWELLE.
The Mary Health of Africa Hospital.
The South West Regional Delegation for public health.

Charles Achaleke Taku (Fuatabong)

Chairman of the Board/OCA & gbm

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General Information and Sponsorship Request for a Medical Mission

The Gbm-em Team and the turn out of the second medical mission

The Gbm-em Team and the turn out of the second medical mission

The Gabriel Bebonbechem Foundation & Center for Epilepsy & Mental wellbeing in partnership with the Otabong Asaba Association (OCA) for diabetes and empowerment of the Woman & the Girl Child, is organizing another medical mission to the Lebialem Division in the South West Region for the 22nd and 23rd of April 2017. The mission will be hosted by the Mary Health of Africa Hospital, Fontem.

The aim of the medical mission is to carry out consultations, diagnosis and treatment by a team of medical experts on a wide range of diseases with highlight on epilepsy, and diabetes. Other common illnesses plaguing our people such as cancer will be examined. The medical mission will raise awareness and sensitize the population on epilepsy, and its attending stigma, diabetes, cancer, and share knowledge on general health care. This medical mission will be led by the medical team of CNN Hero Doctor Georges Bwele of ASCOVIME and his team of specialists. We are expecting a massive turn out from the entire Lebialem and its environs including neighboring Manyu and Njongo.

We are therefore writing to inform the general public of this noble mission; and to solicit sponsorship and support from our partners and well-wishers to enable us support the financial and material costs associated with this important project. 

While any financial contributions and sponsorships will be highly appreciated and welcomed, we equally offer our sponsors the possibility to provide us with logistics such as T-Shirts and in return get featured on such promotional material as a major sponsor or partner.

Let's be the Hope for each other

Let’s be the Hope for each other

Find out ways by which you can get involved to support us for this project and several others.

We remain yours sincerely,

Me. Marie A. Abanga

Country Director Gbm-em Foundation & Center

CC: Bibiana M Taku Programme Director

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Announcing a 3rd Medical Mission to our Pilot Area

The Gbm-em Team and the turn out of the second medical mission

The Gbm-em Team and the turn out of the second medical mission

Hello World, ahead of our participation at the 3rd Epilepsy Congress in Dakar in May, we at the Gbm Foundation are organizing a 3rd Medical Mission to Fontem. Kindly get involved and support us in this noble mission to bring better health care to our people.

The Gbm Foundation has carried out a baseline study in the Lebialem Division of the SW Region in Cameroon and the alarming findings from the studies have in 2015 and 2016 respectively, been the catalyst for two medical missions. The turnout at each of these missions have been massive, but the lone neurologist has unfortunately not been able to consult all the patients who come in. The Foundation now seeks to organize a third medical mission, and it hopes to in partnership with other foundations and people of good will, elaborate on the mission and extend the health areas covered to include Diabetes (with the O’Tabong Asaba Foundation) and Cancer.

The medical mission will also include an advocacy and outreach campaign by the foundation in various schools through the dissemination and distribution of the Teacher’s Handbook of Epilepsy for Schools. It is expected that the distribution of these handbook and other campaign materials, will go a long way to fight the stigma surrounding epilepsy and the resulting cognitive behavioural issues which may arise and lead in some cases to one mental illness or the other.

Let's be the Hope for each other

Let’s be the Hope for each other

Please get involved and donate to a noble cause. Go to our website to find out different ways through which you could get involved. Epilepsy is more than seizures, let’s beat the stigma – let’s dare to talk about it. Health is Wealth, lets be aware and take care of ourselves.

This time around, the foundation will host a team of visiting neurologists from the US. We hope the population thanks advantage of this and come forth in their numbers. Please spread the word, Thank you very much!

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Our Abstract Accepted for the 3rd African Epilepsy Congress

Presentation of Gbm's Objectives by the Program Director Mrs Bibiana Taku

Presentation of Gbm’s Objectives by the Program Director Mrs Bibiana Taku

Hello World,

We at the Gbm Foundation for epilepsy and mental wellbeing are starting the new year with great strides. When we started barely two years ago, we were taking a big leap of faith because we didn’t know how we were going to go about implementing our vision and staying through to our mission.

For a foundation aiming to fight stigma, abuse and ignorance of best and alternative practices to epilepsy treatment and mental wellness, it is a steep feet especially with no known platform, network of partners, available resources be they time, money or human resources.

We refused to sit back and watch people continue to suffer in silence either because they didn’t know better, or couldn’t afford better. We also realised we needed to keep reaching out to the world through our various social media platforms and outreach efforts, and although there was only a trickle in response, we never gave up.

Indeed, with the very limited resources and no funding, we have still been able to carry out several sensitization and advocacy activities, as well as organize 3 successful medical missions to our pilot areas. Our objective with each mission has been to encourage people living with and or affected by epilepsy to get properly diagnosed and get on to treatment, so that they may regain activities of interest to them be it school or other. A fourth one is planned for April this year.

We however realized with each medical mission and mindful of the initial baseline studies carried out, that many more people cannot attend the medical mission and be consulted by the lone neurologist we have so far been able to secure for various reasons. The roads in the pilot area are often impracticable, the cost of movement is high, many can’t afford the cost of the ECG tests and subsequent prescriptions, and of course the stigma and false beliefs are still so rife in the rural settings.

We tailored all of this information and statistics into our abstract paper on the need for epilepsy mobile clinics, which was submitted to the 3rd African Epilepsy Congress, organised jointly by the International League Against Epilepsy and the International Bureau for Epilepsy organized in Dakar – Senegal in May this year. We were thus pleasantly surprised and yet greatly honoured that this abstract meticulously and aptly put together by our dynamic country director, was accepted. Ms Marie A. Abanga will be representing the foundation at this very important and strategic congress – just the third of its kind in Africa jointly organized by these renowned world bodies, and our hope is that her participation and poster presentation throughout the congress, will open many new doors for the foundation.

Kindly get involved and support our work

Let's be the Hope for each other

Let’s be the Hope for each other

The Gbm Foundation for epilepsy and mental wellbeing is contributing its mite, via various forms of social media and other projects, but she desperately needs all the support she can get to keep up with such endeavours. We collaborate with other national and international media bodies to spread the word against stigma, but as a barely two year old organization, our outreach is still limited especially due to unavailable human and other resources. Together, we can achieve more.

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Stigma ushers Shame and Shame ushers Stigma : Such a vicious cycle…

 

 

action-changes-thingstalking-leads-to-awareness

Hello all,

Merry Merry

We hope you had a wonderful end of 2016! We equally hope you are all looking forward to a more bigger, brighter and better 2017. We are the Gbm Foundation had a rough patch during the months of August and September which covered the period when Gabriel died and his corpse was eventually repatriated to Cameroon his motherland for a final farewell . We then went on during the month of November which is Epilepsy Awareness month, to continue raising awareness on this neurobiological disorder which is still so largely stigmatized as originating from all sorts of cause especially witchcraft.

Such false facts and beliefs which are still very propagated especially in our rural areas, actually contribute to a very large extent to the vicious cycle between stigma and shame.

The one ushers the other

Yes, it is such a vicious and troublesome cycle between Stigma and Shame, no efforts should be spared to trash them out. When people don’t know what’s going on, when they can’t explain what’s happening, the ‘natural’ way on is to reject what is happening and put the blame on someone. This blame transfer is stigma in a simple form. The soothsayers who are consulted (because that is usually the choice of action especially in rural areas or poor and suspicious households), are usually quick to point out a cause for the ‘malaise or fainting fits’ as seizures as more commonly known. This cause maybe someone or even the sufferer himself. Once word goes round that someone or even the sufferer is responsible for the fainting fits for whatever reasons, these persons and even their entire families are stigmatized, shunned and treated both directly and indirectly as despicable.

When persons are stigmatized and blamed for any reason, they become ashamed of themselves and tend to shun the world. No wonder that the abodes of ‘witches and wizards and haunted persons even children’ sometimes leaves so much to be desired. Considering the case of the sufferer who is stigmatized either because of his weird disorder and any resulting behavioural, or because he is equally blamed for his own Waterloo, it only makes sense that they feel such great shame and feel rightly and unjustly rejected by society. Such shame and isolation leads to a loss of self-esteem; self-acceptance, and even self-love, ushering in self-loathing, self-pity, self-neglect and self-isolation. Basic instincts of survival in society are slowly but surely replaced by defensive instincts and other self-stigmatization responses. It is clear that the shame which is pushing them to those extremes, will now lead to more stigma from society which finds their behaviour strange enough.

Get Involved to trash out the Stigma and Shame

Let's be the Hope for each other

Let’s be the Hope for each other

Fighting against stigma and shame is a continuous struggle simply because there seems to be no end in sight to mankind’s ‘illiteracy’. There seems to equally be some invincible force putting a big and resisting grip on some minds which could have shifted the negative perceptions held by a large chunk of our Cameroon society. The Gbm Foundation for epilepsy and mental wellbeing is contributing its mite, via various forms of social media and other projects, but she desperately needs all the support she can get to keep up with such endeavours. We collaborate with other national and international media bodies to spread the word against stigma, but as a barely two year old organization, our outreach is still limited especially due to unavailable human and other resources. Together, we can achieve more.

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A Project for Epilepsy Mobile Clinics

Logo

In her effort to contribute to the fight against epilepsy, the Gbm-em foundation is  advocating for the introduction of epilepsy mobile clinics in its pilot program area of the Lebialem Division of the South West Region in Cameroon. The foundation since its creation keeps looking for avenues to contribute towards the fight against all forms of stigma, rejection and abuses of persons living with epilepsy and mental illness, to provide support and facilitate access to proper diagnosis and treatment, as well as to support research into the causes and treatment of epilepsy.

Some studies carried out in Lebialem Division in 2014 and 2015, confirmed the predominance of false beliefs, stigmatization and lack of basic information on epilepsy and how to care for persons living with or affected by epilepsy. This most probably due to the unavailability of proper diagnosis and treatment of the disease  which is also one of the main causes of school drop out of persons living with epilepsy in the area.

Such an initiative, came as a result of the high level of poverty in the Lebialem Division, its terrible and often unmotorable road networks, its poor health coverage as well as the fact that the area has no neurological services. The epilepsy mobile clinic services will through their rotation, fight against ignorance about epilepsy, improve access to proper diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy and de-stigmatize persons living with epilepsy.  and to reduce school dropout resulting from epilepsy in the Lebialem Division.

As a means to achieve the goal of the project, the Gbm foundation hopes to with the assistance of other partners and volunteers, organize a sensitization campaign in the division via the epilepsy mobile clinics. The ultimate goal is to educate persons living with Epilepsy and their families on the neurological disorder, some of its scientifically proven causes, and how to manage a crisis giving emphasis to the importance of modern medical treatment in seizure control and rehabilitation. The project also plans to acquire and distribute via the mobile clinics, recommended doses of subsidized anti-seizure medication.

The Gbm-em foundation believes that the epilepsy mobile clinics will go a long way to “Fight against stigma, rejection and abuse of persons living with and or affected by epilepsy”, on the one hand, and foster research and facilitate access to proper diagnosis and properly aligned treatment, on the other hand. This project it equally hoped, will promote the foundation’s efforts on regional and the global platform as an effective grass root organization striving for better and more accessible care for persons living and affected by epilepsy and for effective management and treatment of this debilitating neurological disorder especially in such remote and in rural enclaves.

Kindly Get Involved

Let's be the Hope for each other

The Gbm Foundation  can only achieve its goal and objectives with your assistance. The foundation is most grateful for the collaboration of its partners prominent of which are the South West Regional Delegations of Public Health and Social Affairs. Visit our website for more information on the foundation and its partners, as well as various ways to get involved.

 

 

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The Gbm Foundation Produces A Teacher’s Handbook of Epilepsy for Schools

handbook-for-teachers-of-epilepsy

The Gbm Foundation seeks to step up its efforts to bring epilepsy out of the shadows. Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological conditions with approximately 70 million people affected worldwide. The prevalence of epilepsy is highest in sub – Saharan African countries ranging from 2.2 to 58 per 1000. Epilepsy is one of the least understood chronic medical conditions. False attribution of seizures to supernatural causes, beliefs in certain cultures that patient’s body fluids during convulsive seizures are contagious, and lack of knowledge about proper seizure first aid has led with bystanders to be reluctant to help patients living with epilepsy.

Epilepsy is associated with a lot of discrimination imposed by other people which together with other impediments related to the underlying brain disorder as cognitive impairment make people living with epilepsy to be less likely to be sent to school, find employment and marry. Children with epilepsy are at increased risk of educational underachievement, learning difficulties, mental health problems, social isolation, and poor self-esteem. Teacher’s knowledge and attitudes toward epilepsy can have significant impact on these difficulties including student’s performance, social skill development, and future employment.

Improving epilepsy awareness and knowledge among school staff helps in creating a supportive learning environment for pupil/students with epilepsy, through effective seizure management, and control of discrimination. A school teacher or staff who knows how to respond to seizures will both improve safety in school and influence the reactions of other pupil/students. In certain cases, teachers may even be the first to notice the symptoms of seizures in a student. Teachers who are knowledgeable about epilepsy will understand and encourage pupil/students and thus facilitate learning and self – esteem thereby playing a vital role in the physical, social and academic well – being of pupil/students with epilepsy.

This handbook is designed to educate school staff about epilepsy, improve their ability to manage seizures in pupil/students and facilitate practices that will create an optimal learning environment for pupil/students living with epilepsy. It contains general information about epilepsy, basic seizure first aid, and advice on the daily interactions with the student with epilepsy.

The Foundation firmly believes that, it is its imperative to make available these handbooks of epilepsy for school teachers, as such an initiative will be a great tool to fight against the stigma, rejection and abuse of persons living with epilepsy and promote inclusive education in favour of young persons living with epilepsy. This project will definitely go a long way bring awareness to the plight of those living with and or affected by the condition, and our hope is that it contributes to the research directly needed in this domain as well as affect policy change in favour of  persons living with the illness, their families and their integration into the community.

Kindly Get Involved

Let's be the Hope for each other

Let’s be the Hope for each other

Gbm as a civil society organization actively involved in the fight against the stigmatization of persons living with and/or affected with epilepsy, is happy to carry out such a noble project in furtherance of its goals. We rely on donations from our partners and persons of good will and call on all to support our various projects. We are currently looking for funders to enable us publish and print 3000 more of these handbooks to add to the 1000 already published and printed. No donation is too little… a single handbook funded could serve an entire school: Thank you

 back-cover-teachers-handbook-of-epilepsy

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The Gbm Country Director Gets a First Hand Grip of the State of Mental Health in Cameroon

It is one thing to read and to write about something, it is another thing to talk about it, and it is yet another thing to witness the reality on the ground. In this light the Gbm Country Director got a first hand grip of the state of mental health in Cameroon when she visited the lone public psychiatric ward in Yaounde the capital of Cameroon. It all started with a visit to the HIFA country office in Yaounde.

HIFAlogoweb

Visiting the HIFA Country Office

The Gbm country Director, Ms. Marie A. Abanga, last March 2016, visited the Health Information for All, (HIFA) country office in Yaounde Cameroon. HIFA is a UK based international organization, with various country representations, which works to bring together experts and other health personnel’s to share information and resources with the hope that through their ever growing network, such information will be made available for all. The Gbm foundation is actually one of HIFA’s supporting organisation, and so the Director looked forward to the working visit. 

The Gbm Country Director and the HIFA Country Representative

The Gbm Country Director and the HIFA Country Representative

In her conversation with the HIFA country representative in Cameroon, Mr. Didier Demassosso, they reflected on the mental health situation in Cameroon, the dilemma of persons living with and/or affected by mental illness in Cameroon, while lamenting on the absence of any mental health public policy in Cameroon. The country director was delighted to find out that Mr. Demassosso mindful of his busy scheduled finds time once every other fortnight to go to the lone public psychiatric ward and animate a support group of persons living with and/or affected by mental illness.

Visiting the Lone Public Psychiatric Ward in the Capital City

The Country Director and a Mentally illed Patient

The Country Director and a Mentally ill Patient

After the enriching conversation, the country representative for HIFA, Cameroon took the Gbm Country Director for a visit to the lone public psychiatric ward in the renowned Jamot Hospital. During the tour in the hospital, the country Director was able to talk with some administrators in charge of the patients, to find out the current situations of the patients and what could be done to help them. In the course of her visit, she also had the opportunity to chat with some of the patients, while deploring their lamentable living conditions. The Director was sad to visit the ward for severe cases which looked more like a secluded disciplinary prison cell.

The Country Director Looking at the Ward for very Special cases

The Country Director Looking at the Ward for very Special cases

The State of the Art of Mental Health in Cameroon 

Mental health is an emerging preoccupations of the World Health Organization (WHO). Resolution 65.1 was adopted at the 65th Health Global Assembly in May 2012, calling on all member states to contribute to world statistics by carrying national research on the state of the Art of Mental Health in their respective jurisdictions.

In this light, although Cameroon is yet to carry out a national census of persons living with and/or affected by mental illness. The Minister of Health institute a Cameroonian national day of mental health and organized a pilot symposium on mental health in December 2015. The theme of the symposium revolved around the current mental health statusquo and perspectives for the future. During the symposium, there was a lot of communication, sensitization and free consultation. One of the objectives of the symposium was that there was need to demystify mental illness. Nobody is completely protected from mental health problems, since we are all exposed to life’s difficulties and therefore be informed about mental health.

For resolutions; there was dire need to accentuate sensitization campaigns on mental health and mental illnesses, actively engage various civil society and public authorities so that a public policy for mental health be adopted, create a database for the sharing of information between the different stakeholders.

Kindly Get Involved

Let's be the Hope for each other

Let’s be the Hope for each other

Gbm as a civil society organization actively involved in the fight against the stigmatization of persons living with and/or affected with mental illness, is happy to join such a national platform and contribute to the sharing of resourceful information for a better mental health for all. We rely on donations from our partners and persons of good will and call on all to support our various projects. 

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