The Order of Malta’s Grand Hospitaller, Fra’ Alessandro de Franciscis, accompanied by a delegation from the Ordre de Malte France, made a working visit to Cameroon, a country where the Order of Malta has been present for over half a century.
During the visit, which took place from 1 to 6 June, Fra’ Alessandro de Franciscis visited several Order of Malta health and social centres and participated in numerous institutional meetings with the Cameroonian authorities.
The guest of honour of the gala evening organized on Saturday in Yaoundé was the Première Dame, Chantal Biya. Thanks to the auction of various works of art, funds were raised for the Saint-Jean-de-Malte hospital in Njombé-Penja (south-west of the country), the Rohan-Chabot Health Centre in Mokolo (Far North Region) and the Chantal Biya Foundation’s Centre for Oncology and Paediatric Imaging in Yaoundé, the country’s capital. Besides the Grand Hospitaller, the President of the Ordre de Malte France, Cédric Chalret du Rieu and the Order of Malta’s Ambassador to Cameroon, Jean Christophe Heidsieck were also present.
On Sunday, 4 June, a Solemn Mass was celebrated in the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in the Cameroon capital, organized by the Archdiocese of Yaoundé and presided over by Mgr. Vincenzo Marinelli, Chargé d’Affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature in Cameroon, in the presence of the Minister of Territorial Administration Paul Atanga Nji, representing the President of the Republic.
On the last day of the mission, the Grand Hospitaller visited the Saint Jean de Malte Hospital in N’Jombé, together with the Minister of Health Malachie Manaouda and the Littoral Region Governor Samuel Dieudonné Ivaha Diboua. The facility is a surgical centre of excellence, with 126 beds and 180 staff, as well as a flagship for medical and paramedical courses, training some fifty interns and nurses every year.
During the visit on Monday to the paediatric oncological centre named after the Première Dame, the Grand Hospitaller, himself a doctor paediatrician, praised the professionalism and competence of the facility and its staff and assured the Order of Malta’s further support to the Chantal Biya Foundation.
Ordre de Malte France has been present in Cameroon since 1969, engaged in combatting Hansen’s disease and treating infectious diseases. It runs the Saint-Jean-de-Malte hospital, with maternal-infant health specialties, and supports nine health centres nationwide. Its professionals and volunteers cooperate with the national health system in the paediatrics, HIV/AIDS and malaria, ophthalmology, physiotherapy and cardiology sectors. An Ordre de Malte France training and rescue centre trains ambulance drivers, in collaboration with the Laquintinie Hospital of Douala, and participates in civil protection missions thanks to an agreement with the Ministry of Defence of Cameroon. The Order of Malta also runs a nursery school for children of parents suffering from Hansen’s disease and the poorer families in the Far North region.