The 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.