By Fru Rita Ngum
Some stakeholders in the North Region of Cameroon have congratulated the CBC Health Services for initiating the Cameroon Clubfoot Care Project in that part of the country. They were speaking during a working visit of the project staff to the region with the main objective to introduce the clubfoot project. The visit also presented an opportunity to solicit for partnership with some local media houses to raise awareness on the clubfoot deformity.
At the Regional Hospital in Garoua, the Coordinator of the Integrated Programme for the Improvement of the Quality of Life of Persons with Disabilities (PIAP) Mr. Pascal Ahijo introduced the CCCP team that was made of the Project Manager, Mr. Awa Jacques Chirac, Project Officer, Tina Ashiyo and the Communication Officer, Fru Rita Ngum.
Presenting an overview of the CCCP to the representative of the Director of the Regional Hospital, Mr. Haman Bouba, the Project Manager, Mr. Awa revealed that about 1000 children are born with the clubfoot deformity each year in the country. He said as a result of the high prevalence of clubfoot in Cameroon, the CBC Health Services initiated CCCP in 2014 with the objective of ensuring that children born with clubfoot access quality care and treatment in recognized clinics within the national territory.
With the extension of the project to the North, Mr. appealed to the administration of the Regional Hospital to give their full support for the project’s services to be provided in their facilities which will be seen through the formalization of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). He recommended Physiotherapy staff from the hospital to be trained on the Ponseti method of treating clubfoot and also for the hospital to provide space for clubfoot treatment and storage of treatment materials.
The CCCP on its part, according to Mr. Awa, will train Physiotherapy staff from the hospital, provide the hospital with treatment material, and subsidize treatment for children with clubfoot from very poor homes. Meanwhile, the clinical Supervisor of the Project Dr. Ndasi Henry will occasionally visit the hospital to do surgery on difficult cases.
The Project Officer, Tina Ashiyo highlighted some key achievements of the project phase one to include raising of awareness, treatment of 245 cases of clubfoot and creation of partnerships. The pilot phase she added, started in the Northwest and Southwest regions and with the start of the second phase in January 2016, services have been extended to four more regions namely; the West, Center, Littoral, and North regions. This has brought the number of regions to 6 up from two and 20 treatment clinics up from four in the first phase. She maintained that the project will continue soliciting for government to take the lead, and also seek partnership with stakeholders and media organs.
Elated with the information, the Health Administrator of the Hospital, Mr. Haman Bouba said they are ready to be involved in the project after reviewing the MoU and promised to channel the information to the Hospital Director.
The CCCP team also visited the North Regional Delegation of Public Health where the Project Manager lobbied for clubfoot to be handled as one of the major health concerns by giving it serious attention.
The Health Administrator of the Delegation was excited that the project has chosen the North Region among other regions where the project is implemented. He advised that the project staff should identify health facilities in the region to work with, draw an action plan for the delegation to facilitate in the implementation.
At the Regional Delegation of Social Affairs, the CCCP Manager noted that with the delegation’s collaboration, social workers will be educated on the clubfoot deformity so that they can in turn educate, sensitize, identify and refer cases of clubfoot to the recognized treatment centers in the region. The North Regional Delegate of Social Affairs, Mr. Haidou Djingwi lauded the idea and said the delegation has been working with the PIAP team and expressed their readiness to support the project in raising awareness.
The team also had discussions with a representative from Centre de Rehabilitation Josephine Rodophi de Djalingo which is one of the centers that will be treating clubfoot in the days ahead.
The team also visited three media houses, the North Regional Station of the CRTV, Radio Salama, and Radio FM DEMSA. In separate meetings, the Station Managers saluted the project and advised the programme to propose an MoU on how they will work with the radios in the days ahead. They promised their support in using their radio stations to raise awareness in French, English and Fulfulde.
With the extension of the CCCP to the North Region and with the involvement of key stakeholders, it is hoped that disabilities resulting from the clubfoot deformity will significantly reduce in the nearest future.