Three months after the passing to eternity of Msgr. Patrick Lafon, American business magnate and philanthropist, Paul Atang recently donated lifesaving medical equipment to the St Blaise Catholic hospital, Mankon in the archdiocese of Bamenda, Cameroon.
COVID19 exposed and exacerbated the huge health deficits of healthcare systems especially in Africa and while the tsunami of deaths many feared would sweep through Africa did not come to fruition, its tragedy continues to reverberate.
The lack of oxygen at the St Blaise hospital, a few meters away from Fr Lafon’s residence on the hallowed Cathedral grounds led to his demise given that by the time he got to the Regional hospital in Bamenda, it was late. Learning about this, that one who had dedicated his entire life serving God’s people would exit so unceremoniously moved Paul to tears and catapulted him to action.
He immediately set out to work and sought first to establish the whys and wherefores and discovered the dire needs of the budding hospital. Upon receiving a laundry list of things that this hospital needed, Atang had the privilege of his classmate Dr Moka Lantum, a medical doctor, cum social entrepreneur based in Nairobi, Kenya, offering his expertise to guide the selection of appropriate medical devices. Not only did he make the selection, but also availed of his business acumen to handle the logistics of obtaining this equipment.
On Wednesday May 26th, 23 boxes full of medical equipment arrived Bamenda and the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Bamenda, the Very Rev William Neba in awe and admiration at the magnanimity of Mr. Atang received the donation.
“What else but immense gratitude to Paul for coming to the aid of the less privileged. Many lives will be saved by the generosity of Paul,” noted Fr Neba.
The consignment of goods includes one transport ventilator, four oxygen concentrators, 197 oxygen concentrator accessories, four vital sign monitors, five suction machines and five pulse oxymeters all purchased brand new and cleared at the Douala port at cut throat custom duties.
“Our intention is that if only one person can be saved as a result of this gesture, then we would have achieved what we set out to do,” declared Mr. Atang.
Archbishop Nkea, archbishop of Bamenda unavoidably absent due to pastoral commitments in Kom received the gifts officially on Wednesday June 3rd and handed them over to the matron, Sr Therese Bih and staff of St Blaise hospital. St Blaise hospital is managed by the Sisters of St Therese of the child Jesus.
“Amen to God Almighty we give all the glory. We are merely instruments He uses at His Will to achieve His Divine Desires,” Mr. Atang wrote in a message to the Vicar General.
Mr. Paul Atang is the owner of Capital Care Inc – a renowned healthcare provider within the District of Columbia and Maryland that employs over 600 Africans and African Americans. It has had the enviable distinction of providing superlative services, maintaining excellence and integrity. True to the philosophy of the company he leads, these gifts are from “Gentle hearts and hands that care.”
Mr. Atang Paul is a “son of the soil’ with intimate roots to the Cathedral parish. His great grand father served as the first catechist of the cathedral parish. One cannot fail to notice that Mr. Atang’s unalloyed generosity brings home Pope Francis’ message on the 29th World Day of the Sick celebrated last February 11, 2021 where he noted: The theme of this Day is drawn from the Gospel passage in which Jesus criticizes the hypocrisy of those who fail to practise what they preach (cf. Mt 23:1-12). When our faith is reduced to empty words, unconcerned with the lives and needs of others, the creed we profess proves inconsistent with the life we lead. The danger is real. That is why Jesus uses strong language about the peril of falling into self-idolatry. He tells us: “You have but one teacher and you are all brothers”(v. 8).