SEEPD Programme Lobbies for Partnership with PNDP

PNDP NW Regional Coordinator (middles) in session with SEEPD  team

PNDP NW Regional Coordinator (middles)
in session with SEEPD team

The NW Regional Coordinator for the National Community Driven Development Programme (PNDP) has commended the partnership between the Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SEEPD) programme and 22 Local Councils in the NW Region. The PNDP Regional coordinator was speaking during an advocacy visit paid by the SEEPD programme to the PNDP office in Bamenda recently. The SEEPD team comprised of the Programme Manager, Mr. Awa Jacques Chirac as leader, SEEPD Programme Officer, Mr. Chia Emmanuel and the Communication Officer, Fru Rita Ngum. Speaking on behalf of the SEEPD team, the Programme Manager, Mr. Awa Jacques Chirac said after 7 years of experience in promoting disability inclusiveness in the NWR, the SEEPD programme is poised to collaborate with PNDP in adding an inclusive dimension to her current mandate. He added that it could take the form of technical support through capacity development for PNDP staff, training of consultants to develop Council Development Officers on disability inclusive development and ensuring that infrastructural development comes with the consciousness and knowledge to keep children safe. Responding to the above concerns, the PNDP Regional Coordinator noted that the objective of his organization is to assist the government of Cameroon in establishing and implementing a decentralized financing mechanism t o e n s u r e a d e c e n tr a li z e d participatory development in rural areas. He explained that the Pr o g r a m m e e st a b lis h e s a mechanism for transferring funds to municipalities in rural areas, to finance priority community infrastructures, building the capacities of Local Councils in planning and developing legal and regulatory framework for decentralized rural development. In line with its activities, the Regional Coordinator expressed his willingness to work with the SEEPD programme and assured that the PNDP will invite the SEEPD programme during its capacity building seminars to do presentations on inclusive development. He added that both parties will continue to brainstorm to see what each of them has to offer in order to complement each other’s efforts to promote disability inclusive development.

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SEEPD Programme creates Regional Network for Evidence on IE in the NWR

Members of the Regional Network

Members of the Regional Network

An idea to create a Regional Network for evidence on Inclusive Education (IE) in the North West Region (NWR) initiated in January 2017 by the S o c i o E c o n o m i c Empowerment of Persons with D is a b iliti e s (S E E P D ) programme of the CBC Health Services has come to reality. The network is made up of members drawn from some special schools in the region and related government Ministries. These include: SENTTI, CEFED, Treasure Center Akum, SAJOCAH Bafut, Special School for the Deaf Children Batibo, Vice Chancellor University of Bamenda, Representatives from the Delegations of Social Affairs, Basic and Secondary Education. The Network was created on March 30, 2017 in Bamenda during a meeting organized by the SEEPD programme with the objective to create and drill members on the expectations of the network. At the start of the meeting, the Director of CBC Health Services, Prof. Tih Pius Muffih commended the efforts of the stakeholders in the NWR to promote inclusive education. In order to consciously monitor enrollment of children with impairments in Special and mainstream schools in the NWR, Prof. Tih charged the members to ensure the collection of data for children with disabilities so that it can also be used for advocacy. Given that there is lack of concerted efforts among education stakeholders, limited statistical evidence on emerging demands for education and participation of children with disabilities (CWDs) in education, weak visibility of education stakeholders and their services, unaddressed needs raised by families of CWDs, the SEEPD Programme Manager, Mr. Awa Jacques Chirac after highlighting these limitations, noted that the creation of the network is important to address the challenges. Mr. Awa revealed that the strategic direction of the network is to contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4 by generating and sharing evidence on the attendance and participation of CWDs in education. According to him, the intervention of the Network will be to develop and vulgarize an inclusive education stakeholder map for the NWR using mass media, promote services delivered by inclusive education stakeholders, collect, collate, analyze and disseminate data on enrolment and participation of CWDs in education, identify and refer users to appropriate services, advise government, local government units and NGOs on strategic directions. Participants praised the SEEPD programme for such a wonderful initiative which to them will increase the enrollment of children with disabilities and also complement the efforts of the different stakeholders working on inclusive education. In his greetings, the Regional Delegate of Basic Education disclosed that the government has created 68 inclusive schools with 8 of them being in the NWR. Although the Regional Delegate regretted the fact that teachers were supposed to be trained on inclusive education before creating inclusive schools, he was, however, hopeful that the capacity building provided by the SEEPD programme on inclusive education to its 17 pilot schools in the region and beyond will be of help. He noted that government is sparing no efforts in promoting inclusive education in Cameroon. The representative of the Vice Chancellor of University of Bamenda (UBa), Prof. Atanga Liliana highlighted a number of achievements on inclusive education in the University of Bamenda including the brailing of exams for students with impairments with the assistance of the SEEPD programme, education provided to students on how to make their lessons inclusive, and encouraging students to carry out research on inclusive education amongst others. With the signing of a 3 year Memorandum of Understanding with the CBC Health Services, the UBa representative added that it is expected that there will be increase in the capacity building of teachers and students on inclusive education and the provision of an inclusive teaching resource center amongst others. They shared experience which will enable them to better complement their work. At the close of the workshop, SEEPD Education Adviser, Mrs. Bridget Fobuzie encouraged the newly created Network members to share good practices in order to make the Network big. She announced that the rd 3 edition of Inclusive Education Open Day will take place this year in Bamenda during which members of the Network will showcase the IE work from their different schools thus providing visibility to the Network.

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CBCHS Commemorates Commonwealth Day With Disabled Persons

The 2017 Commonwealth Day which had as theme, “A Peace-building Commonwealth” was observed across facilities of the CBC Health Services March 16, 2017 with a tilt on more disability inclusiveness. In Bamenda, staff of the Socio-Economic Empowerment of Persons With Disability (SEEPD) program joined with others from Nkwen Baptist Health Center to school the attendees on topics such as cervical cancer, HIV and other diseases.
The brief but rich ceremony which held at the Baptist Center basketball court started with SEEPD Program Manager, Awa Jacques Chirac reading the Director of Health Services’ speech in which the DHS enjoined all in society to be more respectful and tolerant of persons with disability. Mr. Awa representing the DHS read “…The CBC Health Services has been recognized nationally and internationally as a peace advocate occupying frontline positions in the fight against all forms of violence against women and persons with disabilities… The CBC Health Services ensures that everyone has equal opportunity in access to services, as well as in expressing and using their potential, irrespective of sex, age, disability, race, color, class, religion or ethnic background…”
There were presentations from the Women’s Health Program on cervical cancer with emphasis on the fact that it is preventable and women who are married stand a good chance of not contracting it if they shun sexual promiscuity. This was followed by a presentation on family planning and the various options available to women and an explanation as to why they need family planning.
HIV which is still a burning issue was not left out. Youth Network for Health (YONEFOH) represented by Mrs. Boyo Maurine spoke on the disease stressing that the only way for one to know whether or not they have it is by going for a test and that those who test negative should go for a confirmation test after 3 months and do their test at least every six months. She also touched on Human Papiloma Virus (HPV) and reminded her audience that being HIV positive does not mean you are dying tomorrow but it simply calls on the concerned to start and strictly follow their treatment.
Prior to both presentations, Peter Yungsi talked briefly on partner notification stressing that partner notification is especially necessary to minimize violence against HIV infected persons especially women whose spouses may not take kindly the news that their wife/partner is infected.
The ceremony ended with free screening for HIV and cervical cancer.

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Senior CBM Ophthalmologist praise CBC HS for its Retinal Eye Services

The Senior Ophthalmologist from CBM Regional Office in Togo has commended the CBC Health Services for introduction of sub specialties in eye care which makes the organization a leading and referral point for eye care in Cameroon. Dr. Irmela was speaking at the end of a one week technical assessment visit to Mbingo, Banso, and Mutengene, Baptist Hospital Eye departments and the CBCHS Central Pharmacy in Mutengene. The visit which took place from February 9 to 17, 2017 had as objective to assess the efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of eye care services within the CBC Health Services
During the visit, Dr Irmela had discussions with Tambe Emmanuel; Retinal Eye Surgeon at Mutengene Baptist Hospital, Dr Beri Ngong and Dr Marvice Owen; both Ophthalmologists at Banso and Mbingo Baptist Hospitals respective. They all expressed gratitude to CBM for funding eye care departments in a bid to preventing and treating eye related disabilities. Dr Irmela on her own assisted at consultations and surgeries and discussions with the resident ophthalmologists were centred on assessing the quality and cadre of staff, the systems of functioning and the quality of care provided to patients in these departments. She equally quizzed the staff on the use of equipments, staffing conditions and strategies for sustainability.
The Ophthalmologists and staff described processes of outreaches aimed at taking eye care closer to the poorest of the poor in remote communities thereby making eye care accessible to all. Dr Irmela, pleased with the successes recorded, applauded the CBC Health Services for their quality of eye care rendered.

It should be noted that in a bid to prevent, treat and rehabilitate eye-related disabilities, CBM Australia began funding eye care services within the CBCHS in 1981 at the Banso Baptist Hospital which eventually extended to Mbingo Baptist Hospital in 1999. Following the great need to introduce sub specialties in eye care, Retinal Eye care was introduced at the Mutengene Baptist Hospital (BHM) in 2012, Pediatric Eye Care in Mbingo Baptist Hospital (MBH) in 2016 and discussions are currently being formalized to introduce Uveitis Eye care at Banso Baptist Hospital (BBH).
At the end of her visit, Dr Irmela was visibly impressed with the introduction of sub specialties, and the quality of care provided within the CBCHS eye care departments. She commended the SEEPD Program Management for the wonderful coordination of the eye care services given that these departments are coordinated by the medical component of the Program. She equally recommended that more staff be recruited, or in house training be provided to existing staff so as to meet up with challenges of the ever growing number of patients.

The SEEPD team during the visit comprised of the Program Manager; Awa Jacques Chirac, The Program Officer; Emmanuel Chia, Finance Officer; Ndong Irene and the Medical Project Officer; Forsi Beoyoe. This team together with the CBM Country Coordination Office M&E Officer; Tem Demian accompanied Dr Irmela to the different stations and made valuable inputs during discussions. Before her departure, Dr Irmela held a meeting with the Director of CBC Health Services; Prof Tih Puis Muffih during which the CBM Supervisor commended the CBC HS for the Retinal eye care services in Mutengene . She gave the feedback on her visit to the Director who expressed gratitude to CBM for always collaborating with the CBC HS to ameliorate the wellbeing of persons with disabilities. Prof. Tih promised that measures will be put in place to ensure that the recommendations made during the visit are implemented.

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CBR volunteers urged to intensify identification and referral of persons with disabilities in their communities

Volunteers-workshop--in-KumboThe Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) volunteers have been called upon to intensify the identification and referral of Persons with Disabilities and those at risk of having disability within their respective communities as a move towards prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of disabilities. Mr Kenchi Joseph; CBR Supervisor was speaking at the end of a 5 day annual refresher workshop organized by the SEEPD Program at the Pastoral Center in Kumbo.

The workshop which took place from 20th to 24th of February 2017 had as objective to refresh the minds of the volunteers on disability and inclusive development, sensitization, identification and referrals of persons with disabilities and also to train the new volunteers on the skills that is expected of them.
Officially opening the workshop on behalf of the SEEPD Program Manager, Mr Kenchi Joseph; CBR Supervisor called on the volunteers to acquire knowledge that will enable them be worthy ambassadors on disability in their communities given that the people in the communities would easily collaborate with volunteers since they are part of that community .He commended the volunteers whom he described as an indispensible arm of the SEEPD Program given their important role of community mobilization, sensitisations, identifications and referrals.

Given that the main role of the volunteers who work under field workers is to identify persons with different kinds of disabilities and refer to appropriate sectors or stakeholders, it was therefore imperative for them to be schooled on how to identify some deformities for treatment, prevention or rehabilitation. Participants were treated to presentations on the assessment and management of disabilities relating to eye, Ear Nose and Throat (ENT), Orthopedic, Physiotherapy, clubfoot, amongst others. The facilitators being health personnel from the various departments from Banso and Mbingo Baptist Hospitals noted that even though volunteers were drilled on basic skills to assess and manage patients with some health issues, the volunteers were not professionals and must always refer the patients to the hospital for proper assessment.
One of the highpoints of the presentations was on advocacy. The facilitator; Tina Ashiyo reminded the volunteers of their valuable roles as primary community advocates whose assertive communications must cause change in their respective communities. With the increasing number of child abuses reported in the NWR, participants were drilled on child protection where the Child Protection Officer of the Program; Nsono Josephine called on them to educate, sensitize and report cases of child abuse to the appropriate quarters so that a safe environment for children should be consciously created collectively.
The workshop for the volunteers was a culmination of a series of workshops for the field workers in Mbingo and the Partner Council Disability Focal Persons (DFPs) which took place in Bamenda. During the workshop, the Disability Focal Persons shared their experiences and good practices within their municipalities like the construction of ramps, inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in developmental activities, organizing outreach screening programs, policies on inclusive infrastructures amongst others.

At the end of the workshops participants pledged their commitments to use the strengthened skills to impact the lives of persons with disabilities within their respective communities.
The CBR Supervisor and the SEEPD Program Community Project Officer challenged the Disability Focal Persons, Field Workers and Volunteers to do more advocacy, sensitize and educate the public on the rights of persons with disabilities to ensure that they take leadership positions in the society and also network with stakeholders to develop sustainable strategies to integrate more persons with disabilities. They urged communities to partner with the trained volunteers in identification of persons with disabilities so as to facilitate their access to different and ensure that they are given equal opportunities to participate in community development.

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West Delegate of Social Affairs adressing the participants

West Delegate of Social Affairs adressing the participants

A 5 day workshop organized by the Empowerment Disability and Inclusive Development (EDID) Program of the CBC Health Services for its Partner Organizations of the English speaking regions has ended in Bafoussam West Region with the Regional Delegates of Social Affairs for the West and Northwest Regions congratulating the CBC Health Services for partnering with the government in improving on the lives of persons with disabilities in the two English regions and beyond.
The workshop which took place from February 6th to 10th 2017 came against the backdrop of a request from the partner organizations for their capacities to be strengthened in the New Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) approach of the Liliane Foundation so as to enable them effectively work with children with disabilities, their families and various stakeholders in the communities. Responding to the request, the funding partner of EDID the Liliane Foundation trained two trainers Maku Vivian and Pascal Ahidjo who were on hand to drill the participants on the CBR concepts.
At the start of the workshop, the bearer of the EDID Program Manager and Director of CBC Health Services’ speech Nkfusai Gideon appreciated the partner organizations for the hard-work and commitment demonstrated in 2016 given that majority of them were able to send reports and annual plans in time which led to inclusion of the plans and activities in the annual plan to the Liliane Foundation. The Director in his speech recommended result based reporting, addressing child abuse cases and results based reporting as some key aspects that are required from all the direct partners in 2017.
The trainers opened the workshop session with a game of life cycle intended to illustrate how persons with disabilities are vulnerable and how the field workers should use their skills to fight against marginalization. In the game, the trainers drilled participants on types of disabilities and situations in which persons with disability find themselves that make them vulnerable such as lack of access to information, inaccessible infrastructures, poverty amongst others. Participants were challenged to break these barriers by educating the public on the rights of persons with disabilities
Given that the field workers are supposed to work hand in cloves with stakeholders in the different communities where they work, they were also treated to a presentation on the CBR stakeholders which enabled them to mapped out the stakeholders like the religious, political, traditional leaders, Non-Governmental Organizations, persons with disabilities, ministries of Social Affairs, Education, Women Empowerment and the family amongst others. The facilitators stressed that CBR is multi sectorial because it involves all the stakeholders, reason why advocacy, lobby and sensitization must constitute their work, with persons with disability being at the center of advocacy.

Participants demonstrating team work during community work

Participants demonstrating team work during community work

Participants were also told that they need to do a holistic assessment on the needs of children with disabilities in their communities to better know their situations. The lesson was put in practice as the field workers conducted need assessment on 6 children with impairments and did a rehabilitation plan for them which was presented by the different groups with inputs from the trainers which further enhanced their understanding.

With the different models of disability being the medical, social, charity and economic, participants were called upon to practice the right base model of disability which brings on board all the actors given that they has been a shift from the charity model. .Amongst different presentations was that on networking which thrilled the participants as each of them had a role to play in the networking game. At the end of the game which captured the involvement of different stakeholders in the community in the lives of children with disabilities, the take home message was that the field workers must work in a team and the contribution of each team member is very vital to achieve success
The workshop was characterized by series of film shows which highlighted the roles of field workers as facilitators of the inclusion of children with disabilities in developmental actions, raising awareness on the rights of children with disabilities amongst others.

The 34 participants drawn from some CBC, Catholic, Presbyterian and Government institutions described the workshop as an eye opener and appreciated the organizer for building their capacities which will go a long way to improve on the lives of persons with disabilities .
The two Regional Delegates West and Northwest added their voices to that of the EDID Program Officer Mr Kamga Andre to challenge participants to make use of the knowledge acquired in their different communities with the Delegate of the NWR noting that he will share the lessons learnt from the workshop in the coordination meetings of his delegation.
Hopes are now high that with the training, the needs of more children with disabilities will be met by the partner organizations.
A similar training was conducted for the French Partners from the Centre, Littoral, West, North and South Regions. This took place in Yaounde from the 13th to 17th February 2017 in Yaounde.