Seventeen young people living with HIV have been engaged by the CBC Health Services to serve as Peer supporters to their counterparts. To empower these young people to effectively carry out their responsibilities, a 3-day workshop organized by the “Expanding and Scaling up HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health Services to Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) in the Northwest Region of Cameroon” took place at the Nkwen Baptist Hospital in Bamenda from March 1-3, 2023. What better groups of persons to attend to and properly identify the needs and concerns of children living with HIV, than their peers.
Presenting the goals and objectives of the project, Mrs. Awa Fanny, the Program Manager briefed the participants on their roles and responsibilities. For 3 years these young people will provide health education to other young people in schools and the communities on HIV, Sexual and Reproductive Health, and Gender-Based Violence. They will also use their experiences as young people living with HIV to support their peers and collaborate with their health facilities to provide youth-friendly HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services, as well as engage caregivers to be more supportive of children and young people living with HIV.
The children were educated on HIV and its generalities by Mme. Buri Chantine, Clinical Supervisor, Communication skills and counseling techniques by Mme. Anangkeng Justine, and safe spaces and supportive communities by Mme. Awa Fanny, amongst others.
They engaged in fish bowl exercises and they shared their thoughts and experiences as adolescents living with HIV. It is expected of them to assist in filing, taking vital signs, supporting the health facilities in providing counseling, leading activities at the parent’s forum of their facilities, (being nice and diplomatic in their suggestions), and not disclosing children’s status. These adolescents will work with the different partner facilities to ensure that children living with HIV are identified, properly attended to, and adhere to their medication.