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Summer Help Wanted: Fight Disease in Cameroon

July 2, 2009

Noubissie(right) showing her Temple pride in Cameroon.

After the semester ended, many Temple students returned to their hometowns to work for the summer. Temple student Abiba Noubissie, on the other hand, went all the way to Cameroon, her parent’s homeland, in order to join in the struggle against HIV and AIDS. Noubissie teamed up with seven other individuals as part of the “Foumban Mission” from the Philadelphia based Living Word Community Church. Foumban is a city of 110,000 located in the West African nation, and has an HIV infection rate of 10%. The team spent two weeks there in May helping to educate against, test for, and help treat patients with the AIDS/HIV viruses.


Students listening in during one of the presentations.

Noubissie, who says that her interest in public health and Cameroonian heritage inspired her to make the journey, spent a great deal of time educating individuals about the virus. She visited a large local high school, Lycée Classique De Foumban, where she conducted a number of workshops, such as HIV 101 and HIV myths and facts, for the students. Her group also provided HIV testing to the students. Fortunately, none of the 150 tests administered came back positive.

Noubissie also led an educational seminar titled “Look into Your Future” to educate the younger inmates at the prison of Foumban. In addition, the three medical providers on the mission administered testing and provided medical care to those in need.

Next, the mission spent three days with 16 children that it adopted and will now sponsor with school fees, uniforms, and supplies over the year. The time spent with the children was used to have fun playing various games and participating in activities like arts and crafts.


Noubissie and some of the sponsored children doing arts and crafts

The last stop for the Foumban Mission was to provide medical consultation at three local hospitals. Over a four day period of time, over 1,000 patients were given free medical consultation by the medical providers.

The travel costs of the Noubissie’s trip were helped out immensely by the Undergraduate Research Incentive Fund, which awarded her $1,500, one of only several awards they distribute each year. She spent four weeks in Cameroon in addition to the two that she worked with the mission. All in all, visiting your home country and helping thousands of individuals combat HIV/AIDS makes for a pretty interesting summer vacation.

Donations to the Foumban Mission can be mailed to Living Word Community, 142 N 17th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103. Checks can be made payable to Living Word Community.


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