The US Ambassador-At-Large Dr John Nkengasong has commended the CBC Health Services for the work that they do in the fight against HIV and AIDS in Cameroon.
Dr. Nkengasong, US Global AIDS Coordinator and Senior Bureau Official for Health Security and Diplomacy made his observations during his working visit to the EtougEbe Baptist Hospital on September 7, 2023. His visit aimed at witnessing the work done with PEPFAR-funded projects in the country.
Dr. Nkengasong visited the hospital as one of the implementing PEPFAR (US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) funded Care and Treatment sites in Cameroon. He used this occasion to thank the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the implementing partners in Cameroon like the CBC Health Services and Georgetown University. He called on them to continue to move the program forward and create impact, bringing more hope and happiness to families in Cameroon.
He reiterated the trust bestowed on CBC Health Services across decades in the implementation of HIV and AIDS programs intended to provide HIV epidemic control. He challenged Cameroon to be the first country in Central and West Africa to hit the first “95 95 95”. That means 95% of the people who are living with HIV know their HIV status, 95% of the people who know that they are living with HIV are on lifesaving antiretroviral treatment and 95% of people who are on treatment being virally suppressed.
It is worth noting that thanks to PEPFAR funding, 25 million lives have been saved, and 5.5 million children born free from HIV. PEPFAR funding started in Cameroon as a PMTCT program (Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV). The results of the program have been visible.
Dr. Nkengasong expressed a lot of happiness with the real-life stories of children who have been beneficiaries of PEPFAR funding. In his words “We just visited the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services where they are caring for HIV patients and preventing HIV infections. We saw many children who have been born free of HIV, we saw women who are HIV positive living healthy and have delivered several babies who are all healthy. We saw young people who were born with and living with HIV, but they are living a normal life. All of them are at the University. That is impact. That is saving humanity. I am very committed that we will continue to partner with the Baptist and the Government of Cameroon to advance the program.”
The Ambassador-At-Large further acknowledged the fact that Cameroon is on the right path to reaching epidemic control. The situation today has greatly improved as compared to 20 years ago he recalled the precarious situation. However, a lot still needs to be done, he added. Resources according to Dr Nkengasong will be focused where there are needs.
He announced that the Cameroon Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (CAMPHIA) had just been launched. This survey will enable stakeholders in the fight against HIV to focus resources where the needs are, with hopes to finally bringing HIV to an end as a public health threat in Cameroon. “Cameroon is on the right trajectory” he concluded.
The CAMPHIA project it should be noted was launched earlier on the same day at the Public Health Emergency Operations Center in Yaounde. The announcement of CAMPHIA II was done by the Minister of Health Dr. MANOUDA Malachie in the presence of the Ambassador-At-Large Dr. Nkengasong, the US Ambassador to Cameroon Christopher John Lamora, and a host of stakeholders in the public health domain. The launch was characterized by presentations on the Global Health Security Agenda Implementation in Cameroon, PEPFAR’s impact, and investments in Cameroon marking the celebration of PEPFAR’s 20 years of implementation. Dr. Nkengasong during this event elaborated on the US Government’s support to Health Emergencies, PEPFAR’s new 5×3 strategy Sustainability, and future investment plans.