The Jakiri and Belo Councils of Bui and Boyo Divisions of the Northwest Region respectively started implementing their action plans two months after they signed a partnership with the Socio Economic Empowerment of Person with Disabilities (SEEPD) programme of the CBC Health Services. The partnerships were established recently at the end of a two day workshop on Inclusive development that held in Bamenda.
As part of their responsibilities in the partnership with the SEEPD programme, both Councils organized outreach planning meetings in their different municipalities with the objective of preventing disabilities by ensuring massive participation of the population during outreach screening activities. The meetings took place in the Council halls of Jakiri on October 22 and Belo on October 26, 2015.
Speaking at the opening of the meetings, Mr. Jaff Romanus, Mayor of Jakiri Council and Mr. Tosam Barnard, Mayor of Belo Council respectively appreciated the partnership that has helped their Councils now to have a clear vision on inclusive development with an elaborate action plan developed and a focal person in place to facilitate implementation. Both Mayors challenged inhabitants of their municipalities to take advantage of the new office and exploit all available options for persons with disabilities.
The Mayor of Jakiri highlighted that their goal as guided by the SEEPD Programme will be to improve on the wellbeing of all people in his municipality by preventing, treating and rehabilitating disabilities. In the same light the Mayor of Belo noted that there will be effective community follow up right in homes in a bid to achieve the objective of reaching out to the poorest and making healthcare accessible to all. The duo appreciated the SEEPD Programme for providing the Councils with the technical support to start implementing their activities as stated in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
In each of the Councils, community members who attended the meetings came up with different villages where outreach screening can be carried out. Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) programme of the CBC Health Services now has the responsibility to put up an outreach screening schedule in the mapped villages.
The SEEPD programme Manager, Mr. Awa Jacque Chirac and CBR Supervisor, Mr. Kenchi Joseph in both meetings challenged the communities to turn out massively during outreach programmes noting that consultations are free. They also underlined that a team from the Banso and Mbingo Baptist Hospitals will do educative talks, screenings and referrals when necessary during outreaches.
Community members, Chiefs of Social Center, Presidents of Driver Unions, Religious Leaders, Traditional Leaders and Education authorities applauded the Councils and the SEEPD Programme for preventing disability and promised to make use of the outreach programmes.
According to the SEEPD Programme Community Project Officer, Asheri Ngah, outreach screening is a SEEPD activity in which screening of eye, physiotherapy, ear, nose and throat, and other disability related conditions are done in the communities as a way of making services accessible to the population at affordable rates and a way of preventing disabilities. Partnering with the Councils, she said, is a way of involving community stakeholders and thereby influencing uptake of services.
Prior to the meeting, both Mayors and their teams met with the SEEPD staff in their Councils to deliberate on how to recruit volunteers. In Jakiri Council, after mapping out the 59 villages into zones, they arrived at recruiting 7 volunteers. Meanwhile in Belo Council, 6 volunteers will be recruited to work in 29 villages. While the Jakiri Council will put up a job advert for people to apply, the Belo Council will request Quarter Heads to submit a list of proposed volunteers for the Council to do an interview and select the volunteers. Belo Council will also be interested in recruiting international volunteers by writing to North American Baptist, VOA, and other international organizations informing them of their of volunteer needs. After the volunteers have been recruited SEEPD Programme will train them on how to identify and refer persons with disabilities.
According to the SEEPD Programme Manager, the Councils are at a fast pace of implementing action plans, two months after the MoU was signed. He stated that the programme is ready at any time to support the Councils. It should be noted that SEEPD Programme signed an MoU with 15 Councils in the NW region after a workshop on disability and inclusive development that took place from August 11-12, 2015.