Yaounde, Foumbot, Okola: Helen Keller Intl, gov’t partner to succour population of health burdens.

Group photo of Helen Keller Intl delegation, stakeholders from Foumbot municipality after workshop

The non-profit organisation, Helen Keller International, has partnered with government through the Ministry of Public Health to succour the population of their health burdens. The organisation, present in Cameroon since 1992, have in recent days carried out a series of health campaigns in Foumbot, Noun division of the West region; Okola in the Lekie division and Yaoundé, Mfoundi division, all of Centre region.

The campaigns aimed at ameliorating the health of the concerned population, are within the framework of some projects implemented in Cameroon by the American organisation. 

The series of events which started from November 10 to 14, coincided with the working visit of the Regional Director for Eastern, Central and Southern Africa, Volkan Cakir. 

At each stop of the visit, the visiting Regional Director was accompanied by the Helen Keller Intl Country Director, Dr Ismael Teta, officials of the Ministry of Public Health and a host of other stakeholders.

Engaging Okola community to fight onchocerciasis

The population of Konabeng village, Okola subdivision, have been enjoined to engage as a community in the fight against onchocerciasis, COVID-19 and measles. This was during a sensitisation meeting organised November 14.

While addressing the population, the visiting Helen Keller Intl Regional Director said the purpose of his visit was to see how the communities are engaged in the fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases, NTDs like onchocerciasis, trachoma, and lymphatic filariasis, which together with the ministry of Public Health, are working to eliminate.

He then lauded the level of engagement by the population and the comprehensive approach by the community in tackling the diseases.

“It is actually very simple for any kind of public health preventive interventions, that we have to achieve 80% and in all there three areas notably measles, COVID-19 vaccination and onchocerciasis, Mectizan® treatment in this area were slightly under 80%. But I’m pleased to hear that the communities have committed to double down to achieve this 80% benchmark,” Volkan added.

According to the head of Mva’a health area, Eyenga Marinette, during the previous campaign of Mectizan mass distribution in the fight against onchocerciasis, they faced a number of challenges in sensitizing and distributing of the medication to the population.

She then pledged they will redouble efforts for the next campaign. “We are committed to continue intensifying the sensitization of the population to adhere to the campaign and we think that with that, we will attain our objectives in COVID-19, measles, and onchocerciasis,” the head of Mva’a health area said.

On his part, the Permanent Secretary of the National Programme for Onchocerciasis Control, PNLO, Serge Billong, said several lessons were learnt during the previous campaigns and plans are underway to boost the understanding and ownership of the campaign by the population.

The event in Okola is part of activities of the USAID’s ACT to End NTDs|West Programme implemented in Cameroon by Helen Keller Intl through FHI360.

Students benefits from Bright Sight project

1500 students of the Efoulan Health District in Yaounde have receive eye glasses within the framework of the USAID’s Bright Sight Project implemented by the Helen Keller Intl in partnership with the Ministries of Public Health and of Secondary Education.

Students selected from 27 secondary schools within the health district were handed the glasses during a ceremony at the Government Bilingual Practicing High School, GBPHS Yaounde to mark the close of the project that began over a year ago.

As part of activities of the project, 20,124 students were screened of sight diseases and those with complications were referred to the Acha Eye Hospital.

One of the beneficiaries, Bekono Syvanie, said “I am so happy for these glasses given to us by Helen Keller Intl and I promise to use it and keep it well”.

Explaining the challenges faced before the donation, the Form 2 student stated that “I had difficulties in seeing especially in class. It was not possible to see what was written on the board from a distance but now, I see better”.

Another beneficiary, a student of GBPHS Yaounde, said the project has enabled him to be able to pursue his dream which his sight problem had been an obstacle.

“I thank all those who took part in this project which has made improved on my vision. I wish my fellow students in other schools with same challenges I faced, can also benefit from such project,” he said.

Going by the Divisional Delegate for Secondary Education in Mfoundi, the Bright Sight project has helped them to identify one of the contribution factors of students’ performance in schools.

“We analysed and took note of the difficulties that students face in class. Some couldn’t see the board clearly, or read their books well. We will have to consider children’s sight to ensure that they follow their studies well,” he said.

“So, I appreciate Heller Keller Intl for enabling the children, some of whom don’t have the means to benefit from eye examination, treatment and received free eye glasses,” the secondary education official asserted while hoping that the project is extended to other areas.

Foumbot population called to promote adolescent nutrition, health

The population of Foumbot in the Noun division, West region, have been encouraged to promote adolescent health and nutrition in order to ensure better living condition of the population.

This was during a capacity building workshop of community stakeholders including student leaders, organised at the Foumbot Council November 11.

The workshop is part of the second phase of the project known as Nurturing Local Governance of Health Promotion and Nutrition, LOKALE II. It is funded by the German Cooperation through the GIZ/Pro-PASSar programme.

According to the Regional Director, the project during its first phase proved to be effective with tangible results as elected officials including mayors took ownership of the project. “The second phase of the project has expanded geographically but we are focusing more through the schools and on adolescent teenagers which are the future of every countries,” he said.

He further mentioned that: “I am very impressed by the prolonged and active participation as well as the ideas that emerged from this discussions. I am very confidence in the next phase which will be holding at each school will be very effective”. While thanking Helen Keller and partners for having included the Foumbot Council amongst councils in the West region to take part in the second phase of the LOKALE project, the Mayor of Foumbot, Njoya Innocent, said the objective of the project falls in line with the missions of councils.

Asserting that the workshop has pushed them to do more in ensuring the health of the population, he pledged his council will strengthen its engagement with the population for the promotion of nutrition and a healthy living.

“A rich society starts from the health of the population, so this project will bring us riches as in the long term we might not be having prevailing sickness again in our municipality,” Njoya said, adding that “This workshop has shown how we can move the population from diseases to good health”.

about author About author : Macwalter Njapteh Refor

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