FJK Foundation is a United States based non-profit organization committed to the prevention, early detection and management of sickle cell disease in the Rural Health Districts of Cameroon’s North West Region. It is the first structured organization to raise public awareness and education and support in the region and country through organized conferences, family and community workshops, seminar; introduce and implement intervention measures as screening and nutritional supplementation for preventing SCD related complications.
June 1975: Within a few months of birth in Bafut, Engelbert, the healthy looking baby, developed swellings in his wrists and arms. He was taken to the local health center where pain medications were administered and discharged. Shortly after, the symptoms resurfaced now accompanied by fever. He was anemic on his return to the health center where he received his first blood transfusion. At six, he developed a squinting eye; suffered a stroke (and lost speech and partial movement in the right arm) at seven. At eight he developed a very high fever and was sent to the lab to be screened for Malaria. The result was sickle cell anemia. No one in his family knew what sickle cell was nor what its treatment was. Over the years Michael Neba, his older was determined to finding a means to address the sickle cell situation.
In 2007 FJK Foundation was established for the primary purpose of addressing the healthcare needs, in the most complete form, of persons like Engelbert in the sickle cell community in the Region. Its client base has extended beyond the region with satellite representations in in Bafoussam, Yaoundé, Douala, Limbe and Mamfe. The Foundation has since been leading initiatives to establish a functional structured program and infrastructure to provide services to all affected persons regardless of ethnicity, creed, outlook or age.
Through workshops, conferences and community town hall eetings, the Foundation has raised the awareness and knowledge of sickle cell disease. In 2014, FJK Foundation engaged members of the sickle cell community in the health districts of the North West Region to: 1) get input from the affected families in what ways the Foundation could be of service to them; 2) understand the health care needs of persons and families affected by SCD and the community in which they live; 3) document the burden of the disease on families and the communities.
The Regional Delegate for public health described the foundation in 2012 as true partner of the ministry of public health and received endorsement from the Honorable Minister of Public Health. It has also received recognition from local traditional leaders and the appreciation of families.
In 2006, the Neba Family planned to return to Cameroon for a Thanksgiving Celebration following the Deacon’s ordination in 2004. Part of the plan was to raise money during the occasion to construct a public hall – the proceeds from its usage would be used to assist sickle cell patients. On discussing with Christian Cardinal Tumi, he suggested a clinic would better serve the needs of the patients than a hall.
Thus, the foundation was conceived on January 1, 2007, and launched in Bamenda over a two day period: January 27th at the St Joseph’s metropolitan Cathedral and St Joseph’s Parish, Bafut. Over 5,000 people were in attendance and the sum of CFA 1.2 million was raised.
Christian Cardinal Tumi – Archbishop Emeritus of Douala, Archbishop Cornelius Fontem Esua of Bamenda, and Archbishop Simon-Victor Tonye Bakot of Yaounde were principal celebrants of the historic launching ceremony amidst royal and honorable dignitaries: HRH Fon Abumbi II of Bafut, HRH Fon FOZO II of Awing, HRH Chief Wanki of Mambu, Hon Martin Chungong Ayafor, Mrs Grace Mba of EDUCARE
John Kolkman was born in Groenlo, The Netherlands on 17th October 1943.
Father Kolkman died in harness, serving the people of God for which he had consecrated his life. He believed in his priesthood and God gave him the grace never to waver or doubt about it.… A man of great ambition and undertaking, extremely hard working, nothing was too much for him. His fellow priests and laity expressed concern at the heavy apostolic work load he imposed on himself… and feared he might work himself to an early death.*
His passion for the physical and spiritual wholeness of the human being led him to build a church and health center in each of the mission outstations under his pastoral care.
To his tribute, the Fr John Kolkman Foundation is established to continue this passion with focus on sickle cell patient care.