Doctor aids sick in Africa

Elham Shabahat

No child, anywhere in the world, should have to endure suffering if it can be treated,” said associate professor of Biology at the School of Health Sciences Dr. Dennis Richardson.

Motivated by this principle and the fact that 1.7 million Africans die because of parasitic diseases, Richardson, and his friend Dr. Blaise Dondji from the Yale School of Medicine established the Bawa Health Initiative (BHI). Bawa is a small village in the west province of Cameroon with a population of about 235. The village is stricken with diseases including malaria and AIDS.

Richardson and his colleague traveled to Bawa in July 2005.

“The reception was the most touching moment in my whole life,” Richardson said. “Some families had walked for two days to attend the reception.”

The primary mission of BHI is to provide health care for indigenous peoples of Bawa.

“Our immediate goal is to provide clean drinking water and eliminate typhoid and other parasitical infections,” Richardson said.

Another goal of BHI is to improve the socio-economic conditions in Bawa.

“Poverty is the premiere breeding ground for infectious diseases,” Richardson said.

Richardson is planning another trip to Bawa in the beginning of 2006. He hopes to bring health care supplies such as vaccinations for typhoid. His long term goal is to establish a sustainable health clinic.

BHI is making efforts to raise money for their aspirations.

“My home congregation in Wallingford has made a tremendously helpful donation,” Richardson said.

He is also receiving indirect support from organizations such as The Albert Schweitzer Institute at Quinnipiac. Quinnipiac Students will be collecting donations by selling $1 Bawa Bracelets at the Carl Hansen Student Center from Monday, Sept. 19, to Wednesday, Sept. 21. For more information on the mission, students can visit