FACTS ABOUT CAMEROON
Cameroon is a country
found in the Central African subregion and is bordered
by the following countries: to the west by Nigeria, east
by the Central African Republic, south by Gabon, Congo,
and Equatorial Guinea, north by Chad. It has a surface
area of about 475442 square km and is found between parallels 2°
and 12° north of the Equator. The country is often
referred to as «Africa in miniature».
The principal towns are: the capital Yaounde , Douala the Economic capital and Bamenda, Buea, Bafoussam, Ngoundere, Garoua, Maroua, Bertoua, Ebolowa which are the provincial capitals of the ten provinces that make up Cameroon. The principal occupation of the population is farming.
Cameroon was colonized in 1884 by the Germans who ruled Cameroon till 1916. When they were defeated during the 1st World war, Cameroon placed as a mandated territory of the League of Nations and given to France and Britain to rule it. They shared Cameroon into two parts with France having 3/4 and Britain 1/4. Theses two colonial masters ruled Cameroon till 1960 when she gained her independence and since then English and French are used as the official languages of Cameroon. Cameroon has more than 260 tribes with each tribe having its own distinct dialect. Since independence Cameroon has been ruled by 2 Heads of State. The first ruled from 1960 till 1982 when he resigned and gave way to his constitutional successor who has been ruling Cameroon since then. Cameroon has a semi-presidential and semi-parliamentary forms of governments and her parliament has a single chambers made up of 180 deputies. Multiparty politics was introduced in Cameroon in 1991 and there are more than 163 political parties in Cameroon today.
HEALTH CARE IN CAMEROON
Health care activities in Cameroon are coordinated by the Ministry of public Health which receives the 2nd highest budgetary allocation per ministry each year. Health facilities in Cameroon are either run as government services or private services managed by the various churches and other private individuals. There are also traditional doctors that play a great role as far as the provision of health care services are concerned. The following are principal diseases in Cameroon : Malaria, HIV Aids, Tuberculosis, sleeping sickness, cholera, dysentery and meningitis.
Three out of twenty patients are able to buy prescribed drugs in hospitals and one out of every 1000 patients are able to see a specialist. Stuttering which forms the core of this project is given no attention by the public and private health services under the pretext that stuttering is not a major health hazard to be given due attention.
SITUATION OF STUTTERING IN CAMEROON
There is very little or no attention given to stuttering as a public health care problem in Cameroon. There are very few speech therapists nor other specialists, and they are not within the reach of the ordinary person. Of all the stutterers who are members of SCAC, none has ever heard of or met a specialist in his life. Most of them told us of several crude practices that they have gone through in their various regions of origin in attempt to cure to their stuttering. Some said they have been cured as a result of these traditional practices while others say they did not experience any change in their stuttering. Here are some of the methods we gathered from the various members who come from different traditional backgrounds and regions of Cameroon.
In some regions stuttering is treated by cutting the leaves of a colanut tree and warming them lightly on fire. The said leaves are then squeezed and the liquid coming out is put in the nostrils of the stutterer while he is lying down and the liquid runs down into his head. Also the cover layer (shell) of the colanut seed are dried and then burnt on fired in a small room where the stutterer is forced to stay inside the thick smoke so as to inhale the toxic smoke from the burnt skin. Many members who had followed this treatment complained very bitterly of the toxic nature of the smoke. Some traditional herbalists contacted, told us that the colanut leaves and seeds contain some good elements which help to wipe away the cluttering from the stutterer.
Another method consists of drinking a yellowish liquid that comes out of the roots of a raffia palm in a very marshy environment. This liquid is called ‘KILU’ and is drunk by a stutterer for an uninterrupted period of 3 months, every morning before sun rise and evening at sun set. The quantity taken per session is about 1/2 of a litre. Many recovered or recovering stutterers confirmed that this method helped them a lot. In some regions treatment consists of administering cuts on a patient’s mouth with the help of a razor blade or any other sharp equipment and the droppings from the elephant rubbed there.
Some methods consist of drinking water from the shell of a snail through out the life of a stutterer. Anywhere he goes he must take this for he cannot drink water from another source than this. If he violates this, they believe the stuttering will reappear. In some tribes people believe that the best way to fight stuttering is by ignoring it. No mention or comment is made of it by members of that society with the belief that when stuttering is ignored in such a way, it will automatically disappear.
Another treatment consists of offering sacrifices, as stuttering is viewed as a curse from the gods. Here one is asked to sacrifice a goat or a cow and several calabashes of wine and palm oil to please the gods in the family of his great grand mother or father as the case may be. Others believe that stuttering is caused by certain wicked members of society who turn into wizards and witches to ‘spoil’ the speech of their children or relatives as the case may be. This superstitious belief has caused many of problems in families and villages.
Conscious of the difficulties faced by stutterers, the ‘SPEAK CLEAR ASSOCIATION OF CAMEROON’ known for short as ‘SCAC’ was created to improve the condition of stutterers in Cameroon.
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