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Healing Dr. Georges Bwelle

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Doctor Bwelle; The “Robin Hood” of Africa!

- By Issa N. Nyaphaga ©2010

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“I have been dealing with the realities of African societies for the past 30 years; and looking at the work of Dr. Georges Bwelle, I can say: “The Contemporary Africa is a Sleeping Giant for Social Change.” I had been honored to witness first-hand the power of Dr. Bwelle’s work. I have seen him and his volunteer team provide hundreds of free medical consultations—in just one day—to villagers who had never seen a doctor before. After providing consultations from dawn until dusk, Dr. Bwelle rested only briefly before beginning to provide no-cost surgery to villagers. I stayed up through the night to watch him perform 10 consecutive surgeries overnight using only local anesthesia on patients in an isolated village with no electricity and no running water.”

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Dr. Bwelle is a Cameroonian surgeon at the Central Hospital in Yaoundé the capital of the Republic of Cameroon. Dr. Georges works Monday to Friday at the hospital and runs ASCOVIME the weekends. ASCOVIME is the community-based organization Georges Bwelle has created to support the rural communities of his country.

Georges is one of the committed community leaders who is making a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people every weekend. I have been advocating for individuals like Dr. Georges outside of the continent of Africa for more than a decade now. Dr. Bwelle has become known affectionately as “Georges of the Jungle” and he is widely respected among the thousands of indigenous villagers that he serves every year. Mr. Bwelle is a pioneer of Global Health who has created the concept of combining Public Health and Education in a country of socio-political chaos. Lately, Georges Bwelle has started a program to provide birth certificates to the children who are being forgotten by the administration.

* - Dr. Georges has won many local nobilities and two global awards:

ASCOVIME’s Concept & Innovation.
In 2001, Dr. Bwelle founded ASCOVIME - (Association for the Competences for a Better Life,) which is a non-governmental humanitarian, non-religious and non-political organization dedicated to providing free medical care and educational supplies to marginalized villages in Cameroon and Central Africa. Dr. Bwelle’s novel strategy is to provide free medical care to parents and families while simultaneously providing children with the educational supplies they need to attend school and to thrive.

Through ASCOVIME, Dr. Bwelle has developed innovative, practical solutions to address these issues. His work is a testament to his originality and his ability to creatively solve problems and provide healing to those who would otherwise never receive care. Dr. Bwelle recognizes these medical and educational challenges and addresses them directly and effectively without charging any of his thousands of patients. Much of ASCOVIME’s success can be attributed to Dr. Bwelle’s belief in creating partnerships and collaborative relationships based on trust and transparency. Dr. Bwelle knows that in order to deeply affect the overall health of the villages that he visits, he must build equitable relationships with village members and village leaders.

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Dr. Bwelle’s unparalleled vision comes directly from his personal experiences and from his intimate knowledge of the challenges in his home country. Cameroon has been steeped in a permanent social crisis since its independence from both France and the U.K. in the 1960’s. There is also a current crisis in leadership and a lack of leadership opportunities for the younger generation. The need for a leader who demonstrates commitment to communities in rural Cameroon is clear and present. Dr. Bwelle has been such a leader.

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The Mobile Clinic.
ASCOVIME offers innovative mobile medical clinics along with educational and leadership opportunities for Cameroonian youth, villagers and women as well as for medical students and volunteers from the local and the international community.

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ASCOVIME’s primary activities are weekend mobile medical clinics in which Dr. Bwelle and his team of volunteers distributes educational supplies and medical care to villagers. Dr. Bwelle visits about 35-40 villages per year, seeing up to 1,500 people or more in a single weekend. Nine months of the year, Dr. Bwelle, along with local and international volunteers, travels to villages and provides no-cost medical consultations, medications, and surgeries. All of this work is provided free of charge for villagers and is done with the consent and understanding of the local traditional chief. The resources for each trip come from Dr. Bwelle’s contribution of his salary and from volunteers’ collections of donations and medical supplies from their home countries. Dr. Bwelle’s team campaigns against tropical diseases, administers anti-parasitic drugs, and provides educational sessions that engage villagers in providing their own community healthcare. Cameroonian and international medical students and community volunteers teach villagers water sanitation and hygiene techniques that help prevent the spread of disease, effectively giving them information they can use to make their communities healthier.

“Georges of the Jungle” Somebody “very” Special.
Dr. Bwelle’s work is truly unique not only in his own country, but also in the entire West Africa region. ASCOVIME’s unique focus on providing free, mobile medical care as well as no-cost educational supplies to marginalized villages is unlike anything that is currently being done in Cameroon. In Africa, there are no other community-based organizations that provides free, comprehensive mobile medical clinics for families in conjunction with delivering free birth certificates, educational materials and resources for students and teachers in rural areas.

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Dr. Georges Bwelle believes that access to medical care and educational opportunities are fundement human rights. Dr. Bwelle works tirelessly to ensure that children and families in Cameroon and Central Africa can receive equitable treatment and resources. A natural leader, Dr. Bwelle refuses to be a part of the “brain drain” that affects so many communities in Africa and he is dedicated to mentoring the next generation of doctors and medical professionals. He is committed to working in his own country and the surrounding region where he puts himself at risk by providing services that the government does not provide. He courageously works to stop the “structural violence”—in the form of inaccessible medical care and non-existent educational opportunities—that affects villagers in Central Africa on a daily basis.
Dr. Bwelle is all too familiar with the health and education challenges faced by his fellow citizens in Cameroon. It is his awareness of these profound problems and his desire to solve them that inspires Dr. Bwelle in his work with ASCOVIME:

Through ASCOVIME, Dr. Bwelle has developed innovative, practical solutions to address these issues. His work is a testament to his originality and his ability to creatively solve problems and provide healing to those who would otherwise never receive care. Dr. Bwelle recognizes these medical and educational challenges and addresses them directly and effectively without charging any of his thousands of patients. Much of ASCOVIME’s success can be attributed to Dr. Bwelle’s belief in creating partnerships and collaborative relationships based on trust and transparency. Dr. Bwelle knows that in order to deeply affect the overall health of the villages that he visits, he must build equitable relationships with village members and village leaders.

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Short Bio.
Full Name: GEORGES – ROGER MOTTO BWELLE

Gender: Male

Title of Medical Officer:
M.D., Visceral Surgeon - Central Hospital of Yaoundé, Cameroon,
Occupation: Founder – ASCOVIME Cameroon – (Association des Compétences pour une Vie Meilleure) - Yaoundé, Cameroon - Central Africa.

Websites:

http://www.ascovime.org/

http://www.ascovime.fr

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Languages Spoken:

- Duala (Sawa) - tribal & local
-French & English
- Pidgin English / vehicular

Previous Awards.
2014 - The Patcha Foundation – Maryland, US.
2013 - Top 10 CNN Heroes – New York, US.
2012 - Tribal Bamun Award - Foumban Cameroon.
2010 – Indigenous Nobility Prince Position as Lifesaver – Nditam, Cameroon.

Link resources:



Glimpse of Cameroon
independence from both France and the U.K. in the 1960’s
* - Independence from France and the U.K. on January 1st 1960.
* - Cameroon is a country in Central Africa where government expenditures on health care equal $80 per person per year and most citizens have minimal access to medical care and education.
* - The average life expectancy at birth is 54 years, and the infant mortality rate is 62 in 1000 births. Health care accounts for a meager 5.1% of the GDP with 95% of health care costs coming out-of-pocket from Cameroonians.
* - An estimated 48% of the population lives below the poverty line, leaving few citizens eligible to afford health care.
* - Education receives 2.9% of the GDP and an average child receives 10 years of education.
* - Infection with tropical diseases is the leading cause of morbidity in Central Africa, resulting in an inability to attend school, work, or care for a family, effectually trapping those affected in a cycle of poverty. Tropical diseases, including malaria, are the leading causes of death for children under five in Cameroon.
Many Cameroonians live in isolated villages whose remoteness makes them difficult to access by education providers and health care workers. Families living in villages do not have access to doctors, secondary education, or the internationally funded public health services that are improving the lives of Cameroonians in large cities. The remoteness of these places in combination with a lack of funding from the government leave many rural Cameroonians without the education and health services they need to thrive. These are the very communities that Dr. Bwelle and ASCOVIME serve.

Issa N. Nyaphaga
Artist, Cartoonist & Human Rights Activist
Professor of Contemporary African Art, Social Justice & Cultural Diversity
Santa Fe, New Mexico – USA - January 25, 2015.
connect@hitip.org

www.hitip.org
All photos by O. Mebouack©

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