With the Local Capacity Initiative (LCI) Program supported by CDC/PEPFAR, CBCHS work collaboratively with the Government of Cameroon, regional and district health authorities, village heads and other relevant stakeholders to create an enabling environment for PMTCT to ensure long-term sustainability and local leadership in HIV and safe motherhood initiatives. Under the LCI grant, CBCHS is implementing the first phase of the policy advocacy campaign with dialogue structures/health committees (forums put in place to ensure and enhance; effective community participation in health care, communication between health staff and the community, partnership between the state and the community in health care). It is focused on strengthening existing dialogue structures in the Northwest (NW) and Southwest (SW) regions to improve the quality of HIV and AIDS services.
Specifically, CBCHS is collaborating with health supervisory bodies at the regional level in the SW and NW regions namely; the Regional Funds for Health Promotion and the Regional Delegations of Public Health. The project works in five out of 19 health districts in the Northwest Region (Ako, Bafut, Benakuma, Mbengwi, Tubah) and in five out of 18 in the Southwest region (Eyomojock, Bangem, Ekondo-Titi, Wabane, Konye). CBCHS is working to increase their commitment and shared accountability to enforce and support the functionality and coordination of health district dialogue structures. This includes; providing technical support to the districts, and ensuring proper membership and elections.
In order to accomplish these, FHI 360 trained some few CBCHS staff on policy advocacy strategic development with the goal to hence develop a CBCHS Policy Advocacy Strategy aimed at addressing policy barriers that hinders the uptake of MNCH services at the community level. As a resolution from the workshop, CBCHS formed a Policy Advocacy Technical Working Group (ATWG) comprising of seven members headed by the Policy Advocacy Advisor to ensure the elaboration of the Strategy.
After a series of meetings held by the Group with technical support from FHI 360, the strategy was finally developed with the main goal being ‘’ CBCHS to work with the Regional Funds for Health Promotion and the Regional Delegations of Public Health in the Northwest and Southwest Regions to increase their commitment and shared accountability to enforce the Ministerial Decision Number 9933/CAB/MSP of 21st September 1998, which outlines the modalities for the creation and functioning of dialogue structures in Cameroon.’’
The strategy was subsequently launched on the 14th of April 2016 by the Governor of the Northwest Region. The launching took place with appreciation from sponsors of the project on the achievements realized so far. The achievements and best practices according to the CDC Country Director Dr. Omotayo Bolu are best practices for other LCI grantee countries.
In order to achieve the objectives of the strategy, the ATWG started by preparing an enabling environment by joining the Regional Steering Committee for dialogue structures. As a member of this committee, the ATWG assisted the Regional Delegations and Regional Funds for Health in both Regions to develop their operational plans on Dialogue Structures.
Secondly, as a means to revitalize the dialogue structures, the ATWG stimulated the regional stakeholders to;
• revise elections and membership criteria
• revise election modalities
• develop election tools to enable free, fair and transparent elections of dialogue structure members