Five Year Development Plan
(Proposal for refocusing the activities of CamDocUK)
CamDocUK was born just over 4 years ago. Over the last 4 years, the association has continued to evolve and hopefully making real progress to becoming a recognisable brand-name within the Cameroonian Community in the UK and more importantly the wider Community both in Cameroon and overseas. The association has two clear objectives which are:
- To promote and preserve good health for the public benefit in particular but not exclusively by the development of good healthcare in Cameroon
- To promote and preserve the health and wellbeing of the general public in particular but not limited to Cameroonians living in the UK.
Over the last 4 years the association has struggled to define precisely how these objectives can be achieved. It would seem that while there is in general the willingness on the part of members to deliver on these aims, there has been no proactive approach to achieving this. While there have been real efforts to deliver on some of these objectives these have been opportunistic and consequently often not thoroughly thought through.
Some real milestones have been achieved and it would seem sensible at this stage of the short existence of the association to produce a forward plan which the association can work towards to help crystallize some of the objectives in the constitution. It should be remembered that in the course of applying for charity status the charity Commission was quite clear that as a charity, our activities in the UK cannot be restricted to Cameroonians.
It is with this in mind that I am putting forward this document for consideration by the executive and subsequent discussion at the October meeting. It is my hope that if we are able to refine the template and work towards it, we will be more effective as an organisation, be more inclusive and hopefully be able to attract more members to the association. I propose that CamDocUK divides her activities into portfolios which should fall under the following umbrellas:
- Education – Cameroon
- Training and development – Cameroon
- Support for Cameroon activities
- Public Health Campaigns/Delivery of Care
This will include meetings at three different levels
- UK-wide: these meetings should focus on aspects of health that will provide education to the pubic especially Cameroonians. Examples include – screening for/education on common conditions such as sickle cell disease, fibroids, hypertension, heart attacks, and psychiatric problems in BME groups etc. These meetings could be held bi-annually and opened to members of the public. We should be able to utilise the expertise within the association to deliver these public lectures and with our charity status, should be able to seek support from various sources.
- Joint meetings: We have a sister organisation in Germany that has once again become very active. There may be other organisations in other countries such as France, Italy or the USA with whom we may be link up perhaps every 4/5 years for a joint conference/meeting
- Cameroon: such meetings could take the form of joint meetings with medics in Cameroon, specialties etc. It should also be possible to work together with sister organisations (Germany etc) to maximise the impact of such meetings. These meetings may be organised every 2-5 years.
- Education – Cameroon Focused
This will focus on the delivery of support to the medical schools in Cameroon. This will deal with (a) formal lectures – ad-hoc, opportunistic and planned
(b) support for medical student examinations – e.g. providing examiners
(c) facilitation of electives in the UK
(d) provision of education material to various Universities/teaching hospitals.
(e) training of teachers
(f) facilitate the creation of simulation/education centres
There is the possibility of various MOU’s being drawn-up with the medical schools to facilitate this. I envisage an opportunity for the association to use her charity status to apply for funds to help support this.
- Training and Education- Cameroon
Under this portfolio will be training and support directed at doctors. This is perhaps the most difficult area as several sensitivities and obstacles could make this potentially difficult to deliver. However, I envisage us working through opinion leaders and being “directed” by the doctors themselves. Training for example could include interpretation of ECGs, ultrasound scan, etc. Within this portfolio will be education about communication, basic bed-side manners etc.
- Support for Cameroonian Activities (I am not sure how to label this!!)
It is envisaged that as the association grows, there will be regular approaches from various organisations in Cameroon for financial and other types of support – including supply for a variety of resources (manpower and otherwise). Examples will include – supporting the construction of health centres, provision of maternity beds, theatre lamps, etc. Such approaches will have to be vetted and supported when considered worth supporting and of course such support will be determined by available resources.
- Public Health campaigns/Delivery of Services
Within this portfolio I envisage organised trips by CamDocUK either singly or in combination with sister organisations to Cameroon to deliver public health campaigns, provide simple things like screening children for hearing problems, BP measurements, checking for Diabetes etc. This poses certain challenges as have been discussed at various meetings including sustainability and support when problems are identified. While I feel that these are critical issues that we need to address, they should not be seen as obstacles to delivery on what I feel is a real opportunity for CamDocUK to make a difference to our country.
This has been one of our weaknesses and I feel that the lack of a charity status has hampered us to an extent. Now that we are a charity, it would be extremely important to galvanise our resources (personnel including contacts) to publicise CamDocUk and our activities. Without this, our presence will be subliminal and we will struggle to make in-roads both in the UK and Cameroon. I envisage targeted activities including:
- Proactively establishing contacts with various opinion leaders in Cameroon – political and professional (remembering that we are apolitical and therefore contacts with politicians will not be to give them legitimacy but to provide the support we need to deliver on some of our objectives);
- Proactively establishing contacts with various media outlets in Cameroon – such as newspapers, radios and TV channels. Such contacts will allow us to publicise our activities in Cameroon and educate members of the public;
- Website – our website should reflect what we are doing and should be made to be comprehensive and contain as much information as possible. While we have an active website, we need to look at how to make it more attractive and loaded with information for non-members who wish to know more about CamDocUK. This to me is an urgent undertaking as several potential donors to our cause will inevitably visit our website to learn more about the organisation;
- Linking up with other organisations in the UK – we should have a list of most of the Cameroonian Social/Professional organisations in the UK and actively foster relationships with them. This will help promote CamDocUK and furthermore should act as the avenues through which we will be able to publicise our public lectures, charity events and canvass for donations to support our various activities
Every organisation survives depending on the resources it is able to attract. We have been fortunate enough to have the commitment of members of the association who have for most of the time been extremely committed to our cause and continue to make sacrifices to ensure that we remain viable and are able to undertake some of the mundane charitable activities we have undertaken so far. We need to think big and it may mean being creative about how we raise funds. How can we achieve this and would being a charity be of any help? I am convinced that within the group and exceptionally talented and very knowledgeable individuals who would be able to steer us in the right direction. We should not depend entirely on members and our AGM for raising funds. As a Charity for example, should we not be receiving a least £10 per year for all the contributions we make to the association through HM Revenue and Customs? Imagine how much we may get every year including donations at out AGM?
I do not feel that this is neither exhaustive nor prescriptive but it should be viewed as a template to form the basis of exhaustive and focussed discussions/debate from which we should develop/produce a document over the coming few months that will become a the template for moving CamDocUk forward. Commitment to the organisation is more that coming to meetings and we should think about the pleasure and satisfaction we will have in the knowledge that we are making a difference to the wider Cameroonian community in the UK and more importantly in our motherland.
Chairman September 20th 2012