30 Jun 2016
The CDC Country Director, Dr. Omotayo Bolu has received a grandiose send forth party organized for her honour by the CBC Health Board and other consortium members. Holding at the Bois Saint Anastasie Garden in Yaounde on June 21, 2016 The party provided the US Embassy, Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Board (CBCHB), Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), and Care and Health Partners (CHP) staff who turned out massively for the event to hail her stewardship, great leadership qualities and contributions to the advancement of HIV and AIDS work in Cameroon. From the speeches and kind words of farewell said to Dr. Omotayo this evening, it was clear that the legacy she leaves behind in Cameroon especially regarding Mother Child Health and Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV is huge.
Opening the event, CBC Health Board Director, Professor Tih Pius acknowledged the marvellous and commendable contributions by Dr. Omotayo in the fight against HIV and AIDS in general and PMTCT in particular since 2011. Professor Tih assimilated her character and leadership to a rare spice which when put in a dish one will not stop wanting more to eat. ”We have been blessed to have her in Cameroon and Nigeria will equally be blessed,” Prof. Tih concluded.
A litany of gratitude also came from representatives of each member organization working together with CBCHB on the different CDC/PEPFAR funded projects in the Northwest, Southwest, Littoral and Centre Regions of Cameroon. Besides hailing the tremendous change in Mother Child Health and the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission MCH/PMTCT indicators, thanks to US PEPFAR financial support to Cameroon, the different speakers also praised Dr. Omotayo especially for her passion and commitment and leadership qualities which made it possible for the programmes to yield so many gains.
While Dr. Albert Bakor of EGPAF admired her vision and humility in the exercise of her duty, Dr. Divine Nzuobontane speaking for CHAI-Cameroon highlighted Dr. Omotayo’s interpretation of programmatic figures to stress on her outstanding passion in these words: “Behind the numbers, she paid a particular attention in reminding all of us that there was a life, there was a person, there was a woman, there was a child, there were dreams and there were hopes”.
The Deputy Chief of Missions at the US Embassy, H.E Mathieu Smith whose speech we have exceptionally published below, referred to Dr. Omotayo as “A true health diplomat”. According to H.E Mathieu Smith, “Dr. Bolu has championed health for all Cameroonians through effective US inter agency collaboration and strategic multi and bilateral international and local partnerships. Through her service, Dr. Bolu has personally conveyed along with her team, the US commitment to promote health programs around the world and here in Cameroon”.
In her response, Dr. Omotayo expressed appreciation for the fruitful collaboration of all partners with the CDC family. She also appraised the CBCHB consortium for their exceptional dedication and availability for service. These according to her, have registered good increases in health indicators in the anti-natal care, improvements in the numbers tested for HIV and improvement in global health security agenda. She added that thanks to the US government, Cameroon has gone from few systems in 2012 to quite a number of systems put in place to expand the work done in the area of health. Above all, Dr. Omotayo attributed all her accomplishments to the hard work of her immediate colleagues working in the background. She equally praised the CBCHB Consortium for its hard work, passion, commitment and solution-driven, innovative attitude and approaches that made it possible for all apparently impossible challenges to have an appropriate solution.
Dr. Omotayo leaves Cameroon very happy with the time spent here, “I have had the most wonderful four years in my career”. She has been working with CDC for 16 years and will be replaced by Dr. Edgar Monterroso who has been working with CDC for 22 years. Although each one found his/her own words and ways to describe Dr. Omotayo, all however, agreed that with her “it was no longer business as usual” – a phrase she often quoted when talking the business of serving lives through healthcare interventions and programmes.