After obtaining a degree in nursing Ms. Malingo Elangwe Okie knew she wanted to spend her life helping people achieve optimal health by working in areas of need that could make a significant difference. Her vision: work as a registered nurse in an underserved area addressing health disparity issues and determinants of health to improve the overall health of individuals and families. Her experiences working as a registered motivated her interest to pursue and obtain a graduate degree in public health.


history-mediaIn 2011, Ms. Malingo visited her ailing mother in Cameroon who is struggling with complications of breast cancer. She accompanied her mother to her various medical appointments during which she observed a definite change in pace, practice and culture. However, she was not discouraged, but rather viewed this moment as an opportunity to interact with patients and medical personnel to better appreciate how the healthcare system in Cameroon operates.


She was deeply saddened and overwhelmed by endless stories about young and middle aged people who were dying in their numbers due to barriers in healthcare. The high mortality rate is indicative of the need to strengthen the healthcare system of Cameroon in terms of quality, accessibility and affordability.


According to local medical personnel major causes of death include; undiagnosed heart diseases, uncontrolled diabetes, and uncontrolled hypertension, complications of HIV/AIDs, malaria and acute infections. Many providers expressed frustration about the high patient to provider ratio in Cameroon, which negatively impacts time for patient education. Many individuals lack understanding of disease prevention, disease process and have limited resources to pay for treatment and basic health services thus contributing to elevated mortality rates. This is reflected in the 2012 World Health Organization report which indicates that the life expectancy in Cameroon at birth is 55 years for males and 57 years for females. Unfortunately this seems to be reality for many developing nations of the world. The government of Cameroon is working relentlessly to improve access to healthcare and health outcomes but like many developing nations, resources are limited.


At the end of her visit to Cameroon, Ms. Malingo returned to United States quite troubled about her experiences while trying to figure out possible ways to help. These experiences ignited her passion to establish a not for profit organization that will address the needs of those who live in underserved communities around the world. She kept open lines of communication with the medical professionals in Cameroon and initiated team building efforts to launch a health awareness campaign in the future.


Cam-America Global Initiative for Social Change (CAGISC) was born in 2013. In June of 2013, driven by her passion to help the less fortunate and facilitate social change, Ms. Malingo donated a significant amount of money to CAGISC to enable the organization launch its first health awareness campaign in the city of Kumba, Cameroon. She is excited to announce that it was a very successful four day event that had national and local media coverage. The demand for health services was overwhelming unfortunately, the campaign could not be extended beyond the allocated time frame due to lack of resources. This event was attended by over 2500 people from the South West Province of Cameroon. 


Attendees expressed gratitude and satisfaction with services provided and requested that this initiative should be an ongoing process. Ms. Malingo is currently working with the CAGISC board members and potential partners to allocate resources that will enable the organization to accomplish its mission of helping people who reside in underserved communities around the world.


Ms. Malingo’s love for humanitarian work comes from both of her parents who were selfless public servants and made significant contributions to the healthcare system of Cameroon. Her father the late Chief Henry Namata Elangwe was a pharmacist by profession and politician by choice. He advocated for policies of social justice to improve the lives of the less fortunate. Her mother the late Mama Martha Namata Elangwe was a Registered Nurse/Midwife and Nurse Administrator who worked tirelessly to improve access to care in rural areas and developed policies to enhance the quality of care provided in government owned hospitals in Cameroon.