Countdown to ACHAP 2019
Participants from over 39 countries are gearing up to the 9th Biennial Conference of the Africa Christian Health Associations Platform (ACHAP) to hold in Yaounde, Cameroon from February 25 to March 1, 2019, under the theme, “Re-igniting Primary Health Care: The Role of ACHAP.” The Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Service (CBCHS) in collaboration with ACHAP will host the Biennial Conference. CBCHS Press accosted Prof. Tih Pius Muffih, Director of CBC Health Services and Public Health Expert in the following chat to shed light on the Conference.
He began by first of all telling us about what the conference is all about “This conference is going to regroup Christian Churches in Africa especially the Protestant Christian Churches that run health services. They are going to relook at Primary Health Care (PHC); how we have been offering healthcare to the public and whether we are meeting the health needs of people in the community.
It will strategies on how to meet the needs of people particularly those living in hard-to-reach communities where some Africans suffer from some minor health challenges that can be addressed without using sophisticated health infrastructures.” Explained the Public health expert.
Being quizzed on why adopt theme “Re-igniting Primary Health Care: The Role of ACHAP,” Prof. Tih explained that the role of Primary Health Care has relapsed in the recent past. He expatiated that in 1968 commissions met and had Primary Health Care initiated and later on in 1978, the Alma-Ata Declaration was created ¬ talking about Primary Health Care as that which everybody needs at all times, and everywhere. Hence, in the late 70s and 80s, there was a massive rush and mobilization for PHC by most countries especially developing ones.
Prof. Tih laments the fact that this zeal was rather short-lived. “When we went into the 1990s, especially in 1992, when they brought about the District Health Services and reorganized health services, PHC was basically omitted. It felt like it didn’t feature on the organizational chart of the Ministry of Public Health in many countries especially here in Cameroon where PHC was basically dropped and termed a health hazard,” Regretted the Professor.
In Cameroon, Primary Health Care was castigated on the basis that it is not founded on any scientific background, nor principles and therefore was not worth maintaining. Consequently, it has not been consistently practiced over the years in Cameroon and some African countries. “Seldom would you hear them talk about PHC anywhere again,” regretted the director adding that “It would appear it is a mistake and during this platform, we will be re-igniting PHC by rethinking its principles and making sure that it is not neglected; it is still a very important strategy of delivering health care to the majority of the people especially at the communal level,” concluded the director.
The ACHAP Conference comes with lots of expectations from member states and stakeholders involved. Looking at the theme of the conference and contextualizing it in Cameroon, the learned Public Health expert said Cameroon stands to benefit a lot from the conference, reasons, why they intend to invite the hierarchy of the Ministry of Health and the discussions that will ensue, will point out the importance of PHC to our own hierarchy and that it still has a place in our communities. He hopes at the end of it, the Ministry of Health in Cameroon will start to talk about and reinsert PHC agenda on the entire health organogram of Country, so that it is not miss-out on.
“Government used to train PHC community health workers, TBAs and other health auxiliaries that functioned at the community level. Today, they no longer train them neither do they talk about them anymore. It doesn’t mean that we have attained that level where we have nurses, midwives, and doctors everywhere. We have not reached that level yet,” emphasized the director.
At the end of this conference, if Cameroon will rethink primary health care and be able to get back to training health auxiliaries to function at the level of what they used to call health posts- today Primary Health Care posts, we shall have achieved our purpose if that happens,” he added.
The main participants at the conference are the member churches of ACHAP, and other churches that are not members but who have registered to attend, the UN agencies that are resident here in Cameroon, the Ministry of Health in Cameroon and any other NGO that is intervening in the health sector of Cameroon. All of these stakeholders in health are expected to be present in this major conference because all are looking forward to it with lots of expectations and to meet other stakeholders that intervene in the health sector in Cameroon.
The registration fee is 150,000/pereson CFA for local participants and Cameroonian organizations that are hoping to attend.
International participants can register the Conference here: https://africachap.org/achap-9th-biennial-conference-2019…/…
Hosting the conference is an honour to the CBC Health Services as a leading private healthcare organization in Cameroon. The director of CBC Health Services submitted that “It’s an honour for us to host it, to organize and receive visitors that are coming from many countries and to receive people who are here in Cameroon that are coming to attend. For us to be able to coordinate this from the planning phase right to the conference proper, I feel that it is a challenge, which we feel that we are up to the task. And if it succeeds, we will give God the glory that we were able to make this happen.” Contended the Director.
True to its mission statement of providing quality health care to all as an expression of Christian love, it is part of the CBC Health Services’ vision and mission to coordinate all health care providers around Cameroon so that we can offer acceptable healthcare to the entire population of Cameroon and beyond.