The efforts of the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services (CBCHS) in the fight against HIV & AIDS have been recognized and acclaimed by Mrs. Chantal Biya, first lady of Cameroon. The First Lady made this recognition known at the Bamenda Congress Hall on Thursday, September 10, 2015 during a colourful ceremony to round up activities of the 13th edition of the nationally organized AIDS free Holiday campaign. Governor Lele L’Afrique Adolf of the Northwest region chaired the ceremony in the presence of a powerful delegation of the First Lady’s Circle of Friends organization known in French as CERAC led by its national coordinator, Dr. Linda Yang, wife of the Prime Minister, and the Executive Secretary of the African Synergy Against AIDS and Suffering, Mr. Jean Stephane Biatcha.
This year’s ceremony organized in Bamenda for the Northwest region came after those of the Centre region in 2010, Littoral in 2011, South in 2012, West in 2013 and the South West in 2014. The Northwest appointment saw lots of innovations paramount among which was the fact that it registered 250 peer educators, the highest number trained during the holiday campaign. Mr. Jean Stephane Biatcha attributed this stride to the major and active participation of the CBCHS, a faith based organization working in partnership with the Government in this fight.
The high point of the almost four-hour long ceremony was the award of a certificate of recognition first to Prof. Tih Pius Muffih for the CBCHS and another to Governor Adolphe Lele L’Afrique for the lead the NW region is taking in this fight. Mr. Jean Stephane Biatcha said “The first lady personally asked me to congratulate you, and hand you this certificate. She is aware of the work you are doing and is very happy about it.” The thunderous applause that ensued bore testimony to the fact that the work was appreciated by all present.
Prior to the award, the coordinator of the NW Regional Technical Group in the fight against HIV and AIDS, Dr. Tayong Gladys hailed the CBCHS for sending some 50 peer educators to the field for three weeks. She disclosed that in the NW region, the number of infected women is disproportionate to that of the men, reason why the theme of this year’s campaign ‘
Corroborating Dr. Tayong, the chairperson of the ceremony, Governor Lele L’Afrique Adolf said the HIV prevalence rate in the region remains preoccupying. He revealed that women are 7.2 percent and men are 5 percent HIV positive. Governor Lele said there is need to reduce stigma and economically empower women and give them information to help them make informed choices and make them less vulnerable.
The spokesperson of the peer educators, a majority of who were women pledged their determination to go to every corner educating the entire population on the ills of HIV. The ceremony ended with the distribution of school packages to all the trained peer educators and a tour of the stands exhibited by the various stakeholders in health. Amongst the stands were those of the CBC Youth Network for Health (YONEFOH) and the HIVF Project of the CBCHS.