SEEPD embarks on the Third Phase of M&E Visit to some Four Councils in the NWR

Within the framework of the collaborative partnerships established with local councils in the Northwest Region in 2015, the Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disability (SEEPD) programme of the CBC Health Services has been carrying out Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) visits to the partner Councils. The recent visits ran from January 13-27, 2017 in the following Councils: Ndop, Fundong, Wum and Tubah. The SEEPD supervisory team comprised of the Programme Officer, Chia Emmanuel, Community Based Rehabilitation Supervisor, Kenchi Joseph, Community Project Officer, Asheri Ngah, Child Protection Officer, Nsono Josephine and Communication Officer, Fru Rita Ngum.

During the visits, the SEEPD programme team called on the Councils to continue putting in place sustainable policies to support health care provision for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), Inclusive Education, Livelihood, Child Protection, Gender and Recruitment to promote Inclusive Local Governance within their municipalities. The respective Deputy Mayors who welcomed the SEEPD programme team in each of the Councils appreciated the partnership, describing it as fruitful given its impact on the development of their municipalities.

At each of the four Councils, the Programme Officer, Mr. Chia Emmanuel opened discussions with the objective of the visit, which he said, was to assess progress made towards disability inclusion, identify gaps and provide relevant support. He explained the monitoring tool designed to capture achievements on local governance, implementation of action plans, education for children with disabilities, livelihood, and child protection. After administering the tool, general discussions ensued on challenges and recommendations.

On capacity for local governance handled by Mr. Kenchi Joseph, the Councils noted that they have formalized their partnerships with the SEEPD programme after deliberations in their Council sessions . As a result of the partnership, some of the Council staff have received capacity building on Disability and Inclusive Development (D&ID).

Quizzed on the implementation of the action plan, the Councils cited key achievements to include: organization of outreach planning meetings and outreach screening programmes in collaboration with the SEEPD programme in some communities within their municipalities with visible impact on beneficiaries who testify for being able to access health care though based in the suburbs. The Councils view these successes as being facilitated by the engagement and training of Disability Focal Persons, Child Protection Focal Persons, and Community Volunteers with technical support from the SEEPD programme.

Deputy Mayor of Ndop Welcoming the SEEPD team

Deputy Mayor of Ndop Welcoming the SEEPD team

In the livelihood of people with disabilities, most of the Councils reported that since the formalization of the MoU with the programme in 2015, they have consciously put in place measures to encourage livelihood initiatives for persons with disabilities. Some of such measures include: tax exemption, provision of small capital to start up business, support into vocational training, amongst others. On the education of children with disabilities, though some of the Councils have been taking care of the needs of some children with disability in the municipality they were encouraged to have a database of all persons with disability in the municipality and always do a need assessment before assisting them so that the assistance will meet the needs of the beneficiaries.

Despite the achievements recorded, the Councils noted some challenges including limited capacity on D&ID for most Council staff, and limited funds to implement designed activities. The SEEPD team re-assured the Councils of continuous technical support and that all planned activities would be eventually achieved so long as the interest remains steady.

PRO of Fundong Council during M&E visit

PRO of Fundong Council during M&E visit

Given that another possible phase of the programme may be focused on working with Councils, each Council was encouraged to give their expectations and results which could be used to design the Project. Most of the Councils expressed the need for setting up a child protection committee, putting in place policies that foster inclusive development, economically empowering persons with disabilities, amongst others.

At the end of discussions in each Council, the SEEPD Programme Officer appreciated the Councils for their efforts in promoting inclusive local governance while assuring them of the programme’s readiness to continue working with them.

It should be noted that the SEEPD Programme has already formalized working partnerships with 21 of the 34 Councils in the NWR and has so far visited 18 for monitoring and evaluation. It is envisaged that the support visits will sustain the partnership.

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CCCP Gains New Partnership with Mercy Ships

A two day meeting between some officials of Mercy Ships and Cameroon Clubfoot Care Project has taken place at the European Guest House in Douala. The meeting that took place from January 18-19, 2017 came on the heels of Mercy Ships’ invitation by the government of Cameroon to come and provide treatment, develop capacities and carry out different health interventions including clubfoot treatment for a period of 10 months. Having known about the CCCP, they were interested in partnering with the project in the aspect of clubfoot care during their stay in Cameroon.

The meeting was attended by Kirstie Randall, Director of Training and Medical Capacity Building, Mercy Ships, Tim Beacon, Managing Director, Medical Aid International, Head of Biomedical engineering, Mercy Ships, Dr. Henry Ndasi, Clinical Supervisor, Cameroon Clubfoot Care Project, Awa Jacques Chirac, Cameroon Clubfoot Care Project Manager, and Tina Ashiyo, Cameroon Clubfoot Care Project Officer.

At the start of the discussion, the CCCP Manager briefed the Mercy Ship team on the overview of the project after which the CCCP Clinical Supervisor shed light on the expectations of the CCCP from the government. Dr Ndasi said the government should take the administrative decision to integrate clubfoot care as part of the national health care system and carry out campaigns just as it does for malaria, HIV AIDs and other diseases, set up a commission to look at issues concerning clubfoot care in Cameroon and Clubfoot Care should be included in the Curriculum of the Training Schools for Health Personnel in Cameroon among other expectations.

In response, the Mercy Ship sought to know more about the CCCP in the areas of collaboration with clinics hosted by government facilities and the type of staff trained as clinic staffs for the project. Dr. Ndasi explained that the Project trains mostly physiotherapy staff, orthopaedic officers and a few nurses in some cases.

After listening to the CCCP team, Kirstie revealed that Government asked them to discuss with the CCCP team and report feedback of the discussions. She disclosed that their ship will be arriving Cameroon at the Douala Port in August to provide health services in the areas of surgeries, physical corrections including clubfoot, medical trainings for a period of ten months. Kirstie said they have a clubfoot programme with a treatment staff who is an expert in the world, reason why they came to discuss and find out how they could be of assistance to the project during their stay in Cameroon.

The Mercy Ships expressed their desire to work with one of the clubfoot clinics in Douala preferably Nylon because they are renovating a building in the hospital known as “Hope Centre” which will host those awaiting treatment or dressing during their stay in Cameroon. Both parties also had discussions on neglected clubfoot, referrals, and distance amongst others

Kirstie promised to give feedback of the discussions to her hierarchy and to the Cameroon Government and also to create good connections for the project. The Mercy Ship team expressed satisfaction about the passion of the CCCP team. The fruitful discussions ended with a visit to the Mboppi Baptist Hospital Douala Clubfoot Clinic and the Deido District Hospital Clinic. At both Clinics the teams were warmly received by the hosting hospital Administrators.

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Community Solidarity Solicited on World Leprosy Day

Discharged patients

Discharged patients

Community and family members have been called upon to embrace treated leprosy patients with love back into their communities and families from where they came from. The appeal was made on Sunday, January 31, 2017 in Mbingo Baptist Hospital (MBH) by officials who made speeches on this year’s World Leprosy Day that held under the theme, “To Live is to Help to Live”.

A total of eight former leprosy patients were declared free of the disease and discharged to go home and completing treatment at MBH. Only five of them were present and three were held up in the in their regions since they could not move to Mbingo due to the ‘Ghost Towns’ in the two Anglophone regions in Cameroon that paralyzed movements.

Although the fanfare that characterized such commemoration is dying down with each passing year, the significance of the event remains, which is that the history of MBH cannot be completed without the mention of leprosy that started the foundation of the hospital in 1954. It is also a fact that leprosy is no longer a taboo disease. Unlike before when leprosy was seen as a ‘terrible’ disease leaving the patients as casualties with serious deformities especially in their extremities (hands and feet), leprosy can be treated today (within 6 months to 1 year) like any ordinary disease if the patient is identified early enough and brought to the treatment centre.

Speaking on behalf of the Director of Health Services (DHS) who was unavoidably absent, Mr. Awa Jacques Chirac, Manager of the Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SEEPD) programme paid tribute to the management of MBH for tenaciously treating and offering care to leprosy patients who are sometimes rejected by their own families and communities. According to the DHS’ representative, the history and evolution of the Hansen disease in Cameroon cannot be written without detailed mention of MBH.

Discharged patients pose with officials

Discharged patients pose with officials

Commenting on the theme of this 63rd World Leprosy Day,” Mr. Awa said the theme constitutes for everyone an opportunity to continue with the fight against this terrible infection, as well as to weaken the ostracism that often burdens the people who carry the unmistakable signs. He called on those affected by the Hansen disease to take advantage of the social inclusion opportunities created in the wider community and participate therein with courage and dignity.

Speaking on behalf of the 8 discharged patients, Mr. Nfor John Kwalar, Social Worker to the HD department celebrated the complete treatment of the former leprosy patients. The social worker challenged their communities to rehabilitate them in order that they will be able to fit well in the society and contribute to nation building.

Out of the 8 patients, the social worker lamented the situation of two of them who were abandoned by their families. Ndama Vanilla, 9 years old and native of Makenene in the Centre region was brought to Mbingo by a neighbor with the help of some good will people who supported her to transport the child to hospital for treatment when the child was abandoned by her biological parents. The second case, Ihimbru Bernard is 12 years old and a native of Essimbi in the NW region. He was brought to Mbingo on February 7, 2015 by his elder brother who has never passed to check on him again. The hospital took the responsibility to enroll both of them in the primary school.

Mr. Nfor John Kwalar noted that there is no doubt that stigma and fear of the disease are the causes why these children and many other leprosy patients are abandoned by their families. He said the treatment of leprosy today has brought joy, hope and reason to live for these children and other patients, who are being discharged, reason why we need to celebrate the goodness of God with them.

The discharged patients received certificates of proof that they had been completely cured of leprosy from the hands of MBH Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Acha Evaristus and the Leprosy Coordinator, Mr. Fombang Oliver. Family members, MBH administration and staff, Missionaries and the clergy among others witnessed the 63rd World Leprosy Day in Mbingo

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Plan International, CBM, SEEPD Agree to Introduce VSLA to PWDs the NW Region.

By Awa Jacques Chirac and Fru Rita Ngum

Program Manager Plan  International(Right) SEEPD Program Manager (Middle), CBM Country  Representative(Left)

Program Manager Plan International(Right) SEEPD Program Manager (Middle), CBM Country Representative(Left)

The Country Director of Plan International, Programme Manager of Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SEEPD), and Christofell Blind Mission (CBM) Country Representative have been exploring possibilities of extending Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) to persons with disabilities in the Northwest Region. This lofty initiative as the subject of meeting htat held recently in Yaounde.

Since 2009 the SEEPD Programme of the CBCHS has engaged in improving the livelihood of persons with disabilities through the provision of micro loans, vocational training and advocacy for formal employment. These objectives have continued to improve the wellbeing of persons with disabilities and their families. In view of creating more opportunities for financial inclusion of persons with disabilities, the SEEPD Programme has taken a step further to engage VSLA.

In Cameroon, Plan International and the Catholic Relief Service (CRS) are promoting VSLA and have created successful groups in communities in the Northwest region. The meeting was therefore an opportunity for the SEEPD Programme to lobby Plan International to include PWDs in her VSLA initiative.

Also referred to as community-managed savings-led approaches to financial services for the poor, the VSLA has a long and successful history, particularly in India where there are over two million self-help groups (SHGs), serving 30 million members. More recently, community-managed approaches have proliferated in remote, rural regions in Africa and Asia. One such approach, Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs), has been pioneered by CARE and has been successfully adapted by other agencies.

VSLAs are self-managed groups that do not receive any external capital and provide people with a safe place to save their money, access small loans, and obtain emergency insurance. The approach is characterized by a focus on savings, asset building, and the provision of credit proportionate to the needs and repayment capacities of the borrowers.

Groups are low-cost, simple to manage and can be seen as a first step for people to reach a more formal and wider array of financial services. VSLAs can dramatically raise the self-respect of individual members and help to build up social capital within communities, particularly among women who represent approximately 70 percent of members.

At the end of the fruitful discussion, the three partners resolved to jointly develop and implement an inclusive model of VSLA for the financial inclusion of persons with disabilities in the Northwest region. Field work and further discussions on the subject were planned to continue in the days ahead in an enlarged forum.

The meeting came on the heels of a visit to the SEEPD Programme by the CBM Livelihood Advisor, Seifert Hubert. The objective of his visit was to support and advise the Programme on setting up and management of Village Savings and Loan Associations (VLSAs). During his stay in the SEEPD Programme, he visited some Associations of persons with disabilities that the programme is working with in Bui Division. He listened to presentations on WINHEECAM loan, vocational training and an overview of the SEEPD Programme. Seifert Hubert who has worked for over 40years shared his rich experience with the SEEPD Programme especially the successes recorded on the VLSA in other countries where it has been implemented.

CBM Livilihood Advisor with SEEPD  staff at the end of his visit

CBM Livilihood Advisor with SEEPD staff at the end of his visit

It is hoped that with his visit and with the decision arrived at by Plan International, SEEPD programme and CBM, the initiation of VLSA in the Northwest Region in the future will be a sustainable strategy of improving on the livelihood of persons with disabilities.

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CBM Canada Applauds CBCHS for Judicious use of Donated Equipment, Consumables

CBM team evaluating the use of medical equipment in the CBCHS

CBM team evaluating the use of medical equipment in the CBCHS

Since 2013, the CBM Canada “Gifts in Kind Programme” has been donating medical equipment and supplies to it partners in Cameroon with the CBC Health services being one of them. It is within this framework that a team from CBM Canada made up of the International Programme Officer and the Donation Officer recently visited some health facilities of the CBC Health Services to assess the impact of the donated gifts and consumables on the beneficiaries in Cameroon.

On hand to receive the CBM and SEEPD Programme team at the Baptist Hospital Mutengene where the median visit started was the Administrator of the hospital, Mr. Wirba Samuel. Welcoming them to the hospital, Mr Wirba expressed gratitude to the team for the consumables supplied to the hospital which had greatly enhanced provision of health care to the patients. While at Mutengene, the team visited the Eye and Physiotherapy departments as well as the CBC Health Services Central Pharmacy.

PT Supervisor presenting the PT equipment in MBH

PT Supervisor presenting the PT equipment in MBH

Their next stop was at the Mbingo Baptist Hospital, where the Assistant Administrator in charge of Personnel, Ms Tangwa Faith welcomed the team and briefed them on the history of the hospital. In the Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) department, the ENT staff appreciated CBM Canada for helping the department reach out to the needy and expressed a great need for more modern equipment in diagnosing ENT infections.

The team equally paid a visit to the eye and physiotherapy departments, then to the prosthesis shop where braces for the Cameroon Clubfoot Care Project and other prosthetic devices are produced. Their last stop was at SAJOCAH Bafut’s prosthesis shop and the Inclusive Education Resource Center.

The SEEPD Programme Manager, Mr. Awa Jacques Chirac led the CBCHS delegation made up of the CCCP Programme Officer; Tina Ashiyo, SEEPD Finance Officer; Ndong Irene, SEEPD Medical Project Officer; Muffuh Agnes and the SEEPD Audio Editor; Kimbi Clay: The SEEPD Programme Manager appreciated the CBM team for the consumables that they have so far supplied to the different health departments of the CBCHS which have ensured sustainable provision of affordable health care to the needy.

At the end of the 3-day visit, the CBM visitors noted with satisfaction the judicious use of the donations, adding that as a sustainable strategy, the gifts donated are integrated into health care systems that reach out to all people regardless of their ability to pay or not. The visit, they concluded, served as an eye opener to the difficulties in acquiring medical equipment in Cameroon, which urged the team to make commitment to source for more equipment as they return to Canada.

It should be noted that CBM Canada “Gift in Kind Programme” lobbies for gifts like medical equipment, hospital supplies amongst others and donate to their partners in developing countries as a way to boost provision of affordable and sustainable health care to all. They equally carry out fund raising that helps to cover the shipping cost. The designated partners receive the gifts upon arrival without any further charge.

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SEEPD Programme, Key Partners Poised to make Inclusion a Reality

Participants at the end of the IPCM workshop

Participants at the end of the IPCM workshop

A 3-day workshop on Inclusive Project Cycle Management was recently organized in Kumba for the staff of the SEEPD Programme, some key partner organisations and some partner Councils. The aim of the workshop was to enhance improve the skills of participants on disability inclusion in project planing and implementation. The SEEPD Programme organized the workshop in collaboration with the CBM Country Coordination and Regional Offices.

Speaking at the start of the workshop, the CBM Country Representative, Mr. Fon Julius emphasized the importance of designing projects that are inclusive given the role of the minority and marginalized group of people in the implementation of the project.

As main facilitator, the CBM Regional Programme Manager for Africa West and Central Region, Mr, Mue Peter Ngha drilled participants on inclusive project cycle management during which he emphasized the necessity of inclusion given the human diversity in the society where this practice gives dignity, equal opportunity and accommodation to all in the society. As such, persons with disabilities are supposed to be included in project design because they are human beings and form the world’s largest minority group. Mr. Mue highlighted barriers to inclusion such as attitudinal, informational, environmental and physical, which programme staff and stakeholders must intentionally break them in the design and implementation of projects.

According to the facilitator, the project cycle management begins with a project idea which manifest into pre project analysis, planning and design, implementation and evaluation. He stressed that in all the stages, the minority group of people should be involved so that their ideas and interests will be reflected in the entire project.

Working in groups, participants also had the opportunity to learn and design the problem tree which identifies the problem, causes and consequences. They were told to always know the pre occupation of the stakeholders, their interest, control and influence in the project. The different groups working on infrastructure, education and health projects as examples during the workshop, designed project ides, problem tree and a summarized log frame on each topic.

Another topic which thrilled the participants was the log frame. Mr. Mue called on all to always have specific and precise activities on the log frame with the general objective, purpose and results of each activities clearly stated for the better understanding of the funder.

The take home messages were that participants should appropriately consult stakeholders in the design, implementation and evaluation of projects, monitor assumptions, and ensure that project overall objectives align with the Sustainable Development Goals amongst others.

The partner organisations and Councils appreciated the SEEPD Programme for the opportunity given them to acquire knowledge on the inclusive cycle project management. They promised to put the lessons leant into practice to improve on the quality of life for persons with disabilities, women and other minority groups within their respective communities.

At the close of the workshop, the SEEPD Programme Manager, Mr. Awa Jacques Chirac thanked the CBM leadership for sharing their knowledge with participants. He said the only way participants should show appreciation to the facilitators is to put the knowledge acquired into practice as they design projects in their different places of work.

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