Purpose Medical Mission was founded by Sixtus Atabong, a local Physician Assistant, in 2008. "It's a non-profit organization that helps establish sustainable medical facilities. We started in Cameroon, in the village where I grew up. Now we're in Guatemala and looking into going into Nicaragua," Atabong said.
Finding out that his father had to have his leg amputated due to diabetes complications is what sparked the movement to improve access to medical care services in Cameroon.
"We helped build a hospital in the village which is now a fully functional hospital. It's the only facility 24/7 with local doctors and nurses, workers there," he said. "We typically go to Cameroon once or twice a year, and now we go to Guatemala at least once a year."
Advisory Board Member Dr. James Burke said while it takes travel to these sites to build and serve, a lot of work is done by a diverse group of people in Lubbock as well.
"And brought together through these people a team that literally built a pre-anesthesia room, a operating room and a recovery room out of two containers. We shipped them over and established the operating room in this village in Muyuka in this village in West Africa, in Cameroon," Dr. Burke explained.
Progress, he said, is what keeps people interested in Purpose Medical Mission.
"I think people see what it started off with and how little things can incrementally improve access to medical care for those people whose life expectancy is about half of what it would be in the United States," Burke said.
Things have come a long way. He described rooms full of kids sick with malaria are being treated. Women are surviving high-risk births, like in the case of one woman and her twin babies.
"The last time that I visited we were very impressed because we saw that the mission was being accomplished even though we weren't there," Burke said.
For Atabong, the mission will always be personal. He said he owes it to the blessings he has had and the people who raised him.