The Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) Regional Training Center of Excellence for Health Personnel, in partnership with the Mildmay Institute of Health Sciences, Uganda, has graduated its pioneer batch of 31 trainees. The maiden graduation ceremony held on November 24, 2018, at the CBC Health Services Complex – that hosts the training centre – in Mutengene, Cameroon.
The 31 trainees most of them already serving as full-time health practitioners graduated from the Diploma in Health and Social System Management, Diploma in Paediatric Palliative Care, and Diploma in Community HIV & AIDS Care Management programmes.
Prof. Tih Pius Muffih, CBC Director of Health Services (DHS), who was guest of honour at the graduation, said the CBC Regional Training Center of Excellence for Health Personnel that was created in 2004, is an offshoot of the organisation’s partnership with AWARE HIV and AIDS.
In a brief historical presentation, the DHS said USAIDS, from the onset, recognized the Regional Training Centre as the best and promising center of excellence for Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV services in West Africa.
“Through this recognition, funds were obtained through the Action for West African Region (AWARE) Project to provide Technical Assistance to some 18 countries in the West and Central African Region and to start the Regional Training Centre (RTC) for excellence,” recounted Prof. Tih Pius.
“After the AWARE funding ended in 2007, we re-launched some short courses ranging from 1-2 weeks on HIV Counselling, Leadership in the Healthcare Sector, Community Healthcare, Palliative Care, Health Management Information System (HMIS) Technology, Health Administration and Hospital Management Module, Drug Logistics, Health Financing, Medical and Nursing Improvement, among others. Even with the re-launch, training was not scaled up due to some constraints,” added he.
Prof. Tih recalled that in 2012, the Health Board approved Mr. Nkouh Godlove to study at the Mildmay Institute of Health Sciences where he realized the existing gap in Cameroon in terms of learning opportunities especially on-the-job learning.
After continuous strong collaboration with the Mildmay Institute of Health Sciences, Mbarara University of Uganda and the University of Manchester in the UK, training effectively started in March 2016 with 33 trainees, which 31 of them successfully went through.
Prof. Tih Pius Muffih who awarded certificates to the graduates at the heavily attended convocation reiterated that the pioneer trainees are sent out as agents of change. “The skills the trainees have acquired will help them work hand-in-glove with the government to diagnose problems plaguing Cameroon’s health sector and propose solutions,” he added. The graduates, he said, are expected to offer some of the best quality health services to people at the grassroots level.
Rev. Dr. Nditemeh Charlemagne, Yaounde Field Pastor of the CBC, in a sermon drew inspiration from Romans 1:1-7, and cautioned the trainees not to conform to the patterns of this world as they seek to provide health care to communities.
“The love for money has gripped the world, and people are dying in hospitals because they can’t pay the cash demanded by some health practitioners. Be the change, serve the people and save their lives as an expression of Christ’s love,” said Rev. Dr. Charlemagne.
In an academic discourse, Dr. Jane Frank Nalubega, Dean of the Faculty of Applied Sciences, Mildmay Institute of Health Sciences, Uganda, appreciated and congratulated the graduates for their persistence in learning in spite of their ages. She called on them to set realistic goals and standards for their lives so as to achieve even greater things.
“What you set out to do today is what you will rip from tomorrow. …as you go to serve the people remember what you are living behind so you can best fill the gap. Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t depend on your understanding. Seek his face in all you do and he’ll show you the path to take,” exhorted Dr. Jane as she paraphrased Proverbs 3:6-7.
Another key part of the ceremony was the charge. Dr. Henry Ndassi, Head of CBC Health Services’ Orthopedic Unit, who played the role, told the graduates that “The diplomas you have obtained are just papers, but what qualify you is your character and the services you provide to people.” He charged them to take the challenge to build their character in order to sustain their certification.
Through their representative and a graduate himself, Mr. Gamngong Emmanuel, the students pledged their commitment in putting into practice the knowledge and skills acquired from the Centre.
“We are going out there to create more impact by ensuring that we listen to the people, and involve them in decision making so that we can better understand their health challenges”. Mr. Gamngong noted that “At first we did not know how to really relate properly with the people, but now we have gotten a deeper and better understanding of how to work with the people…to solve their problems”.
The creation of the Regional Training Centre of Excellence for Health Personnel was based on the need to train staff and upgrade the skills of personnel in peculiar relevant fields of public health and community outreach. The courses are chosen and designed based on felt needs, contextual realities, changing trends, and global standards.