Patient reports

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The patient reports were prepared by Dr René Essomba, Josepha Ade Makaba (assistant to Dr Essomba) and Alina Berendsen (Bon Secours supports in Yaoundé).

A selection ...

Francois M. is 33 years old and lives in Mfou, a village near the Cameroonian capital Yaoundé. He is the father of five children, which corresponds to the national average of 4.8 children, aged 6 to 12. Although his children are from different mothers, they all live with him.  Cameroonian law provides that as soon as children reach 7 years of age, fathers are automatically granted custody and thus have the choice to take the children to live with them (even against the mother's will). All the children go to school. Although Francois is not married, he lives with his partner of 27 years. As she currently has no job, he is also responsible for her. 

Francois M. builds drums (tam-tam) and pestles (mortiers), which are used to make cassava, yams and other root mash. To find the wood for his work, Francois regularly has to walk several kilometres to the forest. In the forest, he collects cut pieces of wood, which he then brings to Mfou for processing. He often has to do his work without proper safety clothing. Gloves are only occasionally available. 

About 10 months ago, Francois noticed swellings on his testicles. Although they were not painful, they were getting bigger and bigger. The swelling prevented him from walking comfortably, making it difficult to do his job. Equally problematic was that the symptoms restricted his sex life. In Cameroon, children have a very high symbolic value. Infertility is often explained as witchcraft. 

As Francois' partner did not have any children yet, he was worried whether she would stay with him if he was not able to have more children with her. Not having children at the age of 27 is quite rare in Cameroon. As Francois could not afford treatment, he turned to Dr Rene Essomba. Dr Essmomba diagnosed a hydrocele (a collection of fluid in the testicles), which he operated on the following day. The follow-up examinations showed a good healing process. Francois' partner was particularly pleased.

Francois is thinking of changing his job because of the dangerous working conditions and also to spend more time with his family.