In Africa, it is believed that when someone dies before the age of 50, that person was certainly bewitched. Annah Baye a 50 years old widow believed that God had cursed her family by inflicting untimely death on her relatives. Her sixteen siblings had died suddenly after complaining of simple headaches, dizziness or nerves. Over the years, Baye had grieved over the death of her love ones, while following the same life style like them.
To curb the myth related to NCDs in Cameroon, the CBC Health Services embarked on a community outreach program through general education. Teams were sent to churches, schools, markets to carryout health education on NCD. It was during one of such outings at Main Market in Tiko that Baye learned about NCD for the first time. “I heard a lady shouting on a megaphone, cautioning us on the dangers of the silent killers. How a healthy person could just die abruptly because of a silent killer disease.” Baye curiosity had pulled her closer to the service provider who took time to explain to her the different types of silent killers such as Hypertension, diabetes, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases among others. After explaining the symptoms, Baye could link some to her siblings which motivated her to want to know her numbers
After being screened, her blood pressure was high, 179/106”. She realized that she was not only exposed to NCD but was already living with one of them. Baye was immediately referred to the health Center for proper follow-up. “I was advice not to abuse alcohol, eat less salt and oil; eat a lot of fruits and remain physically active.” For about a year now, I have changed my lifestyle and I am feeling better. This change has made me start to believe that, we weren’t actually bewitched as I thought but our poor lifestyle took us to our early graves.
As a wounded healer, Baye advises everyone to know their numbers so as to bar the road to the silent disease. “You may think you are healthy, but you may be close to your grave, take a few minutes today and know your numbers to bar the road of the silent disease from attacking you”
Anna believes that “. … I am very glad for the timely intervention of the Know Your Numbers team, they reached out to my community or else the same story I am telling about my 16 aunts would have been told about me by someone else now”.