Cameroon Races to Reach Zero-dose Children with ‘Lifesaving Shots’
An initiative to reach children in Cameroon who have not had a single dose of routine vaccine in their lifetime has been launched. The initiative is dubbed “Reaching and Adapting Immunization More
Services Effectively to reach zero-dose children in Cameroon (RAISE 4 ZDC in Cameroon).
“Over 1.3 million zero-dose children live in the Sahel Region and the horn of Africa. [An estimated] 180,000 of them live in Cameroon,” says Junie Flegere, Portfolio Manager for Gavi- the Vaccine Alliance.
“Zero-dose children – defined as children who have not received a single dose of diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis,” says Gavi.
According to Mrs. Junie, the ‘RAISE 4 ZDC in Cameroon’ aims to reduce the number of zero-dose children in Cameroon by 5%, within the period 2021-2025.
Launching the initiative, Prof. Richard Njock, Secretary General at Cameroon's Ministry of Public Health prescribed teamwork as a prerequisite to the attainment of the initiative’s goal. “Put in your best for the success of this initiative and work in synergy to avoid duplication of efforts,” he advised.
He equally noted that despite all efforts by the government and partners through the Expanded Program for Immunization (EPI), many children have not had access to vaccines- compromising their lives and exposing them to vaccine-preventable diseases like yellow fever, viral hepatitis, and respiratory infections.
Against such a backdrop, the RAISE 4 ZDC in Cameroon initiative is a gamechanger- to close the gaps in the country’s immunization program.
RAISE 4 ZDC is a Gavi accelerator funding initiative implemented by World Vision USA through the African Christian Health Associations Platform (ACHAP) and a consortium of members, in 12 countries of the Sahel Region and the horn of Africa.
Dr. Ndilta, Representative of World Vision USA, and President of the Board of Directors for ACHAP said World Vision USA, was honored to collaborate with ACHAP through one of its local members- the Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) Health Services, and Cameroon’s government to implement RAISE 4 ZDC in Cameroon.
“We wish for a total success of this project- for the welfare of children in Cameroon and Africa in general,” he said.
ACHAP has as its mission “quality health care for all" and is present in over 34 African countries- delivering health care in hard-to-reach communities.
Prof. Tih Pius Muffih, Director of CBC Health Services while presenting the initiative to stakeholders at the launch, said, “it will go long way to reduce infant mortality and improve vaccination amongst children 0-5 years.”
Cameroon is ranked one of the countries in the world with a high infant mortality rate- no vaccination or incomplete vaccination is to be blamed.
“The importance of vaccination to the survival of children is no longer a subject of debate. Vaccination is more than ever important due to recurrent health emergencies,” emphasized Prof. Tih.
“We want to appreciate the support we have received from Gavi, the World Vision USA, ACHAP, the Ministry of Public Health, and Local EPI actors. These partnerships confirm: we are stronger when we work in synergy. Our collective efforts will enable us to reach zero-doze children. No actor can achieve that alone,” he added.
The RAISE 4 ZDC in Cameroon is part of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) immunization agenda for reaching the most marginalized and vulnerable populations.
Gavi has christened this initiative “leaving no one behind with immunization”.
It’s worth underscoring that the CBC Health Services implements this program as a trustworthy health institution whose prowess and outstanding performance in healthcare, and in providing community health has been registered over 50 years and counting. The CBC Health Services implements the Zero-dose initiative in partnership with the Ministry of Public Health in priority regions in Cameroon.
Stakeholders Acquaint with RAISE 4 ZDC Project
The Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) Health Services has introduced stakeholders to the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) a new initiative dubbed More
“Reaching and Adapting Immunization Services Effectively for Zero-Dose Children (ZDC) in the Sahel Region (RAISE 4 ZDC in Sahel)”.
The introductory session which was held in Yaoundé on July 27, 2022, ensured that participants/stakeholders understand the initiative and eventual contributions they will make for a successful implementation. The session introduced the Gavi Zero-Dose Children (ZDC) initiative to partners under EPI and the Ministry of Health-who explored ways to work collaboratively for the implementation of the project.
This immunization initiative seeks to support National efforts toward achieving the WHO's 2030 Agenda for Immunization by strengthening country strategies to reach Zero Dose Children and communities by 2025 and to meet the Immunization Agenda (IA) 2030.
Immunization Agenda (IA) 2030 is supported by the Vaccine Alliance, Gavi, whose central vision 2021-2025 places priority on reaching out to the most marginalized and vulnerable populations. Statistics show that an estimated 1.3 million zero-dose children live in fragile and conflict settings, often outside of Government’s reach in 12 countries across the Sahel region and the Horn of Africa”, Cameroon inclusive.
Despite tremendous vaccination investment coordinated by the National Enlarged Program for Immunization (EPI) in Cameroon and due to multiple anthropological, social, economic, and security challenges, many children still do not have access to vaccines, thereby increasing the chance of facing diseases preventable with vaccines, necessitating the RAISE 4 ZDC in Sahel initiative in the country with the CBC Health Services as implementing partner.
The CBC Health Services building from its outstanding experience in providing community health in Cameroon will be leading the implementation of the Zero Dose initiative over the next four years in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the National Enlarged Program for Immunization, in 6 Regions (Far-North, North, Adamaoua, Southwest, Northwest, and East).
It is worth noting that Immunization is a success story for global health and development saving millions of lives every year. Between 2010 and 2018, 23 million deaths were averted with the Measles vaccine alone.
The number of infants vaccinated annually – more than 116 million, or 86% of all infants born – has reached the highest level ever reported. More than 20 life-threatening diseases can now be prevented by immunization. Since 2010, 116 countries have introduced vaccines that they did not use previously, including those against major killers like Pneumococcal Pneumonia, Diarrhea, Cervical Cancer, Typhoid, Cholera, and Meningitis.
Teachers of Basic, Secondary Education Drilled on Inclusive Teaching/Learning Practices
The Northwest Regional Delegates of Basic and Secondary Education have commended the professionalism of the Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) Health Services in More
championing inclusive education in Cameroon; stating that international and national laws have given the legal backing for education stakeholders to enforce inclusive education.
Ngwang Roland Yuven and Ndong Wilfred were speaking respectively at the opening and close of a 3-day workshop organized by the Empowerment and Disability Inclusive Development (EDID) Program.
The workshop was part of leveraging and sustaining gains made thus far in inclusive education, within the Northwest Regional community of practice (CoP).
Organized with funds from the Liliane Fonds, the workshop brought together over 70 participants from the Northwest Regional Inclusive Education CoP, to enhance their capacities for effective inclusionary practices in the classroom.
Mr. Yuven Rolland, Northwest Regional Delegate of Secondary Education says the workshop was timely. “It is coming at the end of the academic year when there is ample time for teachers to evaluate and prepare for an upcoming academic year.
“I am elated with the efforts of the CBC Health Services because this is the first workshop organized on inclusive education since the end of the 2022 school year in the region. I hope to see an increase in the enrollment of learners with disabilities as well as increased commitment and attention on the part of the teachers in meeting the needs of learners with impairments,” he said.
For three days, participants were drilled by selected facilitators on inclusive education practices as well as disability concepts.
Mrs. Fobuzie Bridget, lead facilitator and Inclusive Education Advisor for the CBC Health Services shared personal experiences in inclusive education on the Universal Design for Learning.
Participants at the end of the workshop said they have been equipped with skills that would go a long way to impact learners with impairments. They pledged their commitment to ensuring that inclusive practices learned will be put to use in their different schools.
Mr. Ndong Wilfred, Northwest Regional Delegate of Basic Education at the close implored the teachers to diligently serve the children without discrimination or bias. “Your work in promoting inclusion is not only a job but a calling- God approves of.”
I will pay an inspection visit to most of the schools during the upcoming academic year to ensure the knowledge from the workshop is being put into practice, he said
HUMANITARIAN ORGANISATIONS TO PRACTICE DISABILITY INCLUSION IN SGBV RESPONSE
Some 25 persons, staff of humanitarian organizations and officials from related ministries providing Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), mental and psychosocial More
support services have been urged to intentionally include persons with disabilities in their services.
This was during a 3-day refresher training organized by the Disability Inclusive Humanitarian Action (DIHA) Project.
Nsono Josephine, Gender and Child Protection Supervisor says the training was to improve participants’ understanding on SGBV identification, appropriate referral and counter referrals of survivors with disabilities.
The training was organized against the back drop of the ongoing crisis characterized by violence, increase in sexual and gender-based violence, mental and psychological issues.
In, many organizations when providing SGBV and psycho social services don’t take measures to ensure that persons with disabilities benefit from their services. However, thanks to the DIHA project the CBC Health services is partnering with other humanitarian organizations to meet the increasing needs of SGBV survivors and people with mental and psychosocial issues. This in a bid to ensure that services are disability inclusive.
Wirba Asan, Regional Delegate of Women’s Empowerment and the Family for the North West Region said the new knowledge on inclusive SGBV services will positively impact service delivery. He encouraged the participants to restitute the knowledge gained in their different organizations
DIHA is implemented by the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office through CBM. The workshop took place at the Baptist Center from July 28 – 30, 2022.
Improving Access to Eye Care- Community Health Workers Empowered
The role of community health workers in primary eye care cannot be overemphasized. It is in that light that the Inclusive Eye Health Project of the CBC Health Services More
organized a one-day workshop for this group of health workers on primary eye health.
The workshop brought together over 50 health workers from Santa, Tubah, Bafut, Wum, and Nkambe Health Districts in the Northwest Region. Its main objective was to build the capacities of community health workers in the provision of primary eye care, health education, referrals of chronic eye conditions to primary eye centers, and community outreach mobilization.
Mr. Warri Denis, Deputy Director for Administration and Finance (DDAF) while declaring the workshop open, appreciated the community health workers for partnering with the CBC Health Services in promoting its mission statement in their different communities. “You are important actors in providing primary eye care in their communities,” Mr. Warri said.
During the workshop, facilitators from the Nkwen Baptist Health Center’s Eye Department schooled participants on basic primary eye care, health education, and the organization of outreach screening. Participants were given tools and educated on how to use the tools to facilitate their work
Mr. Tamon James, Coordinator of the Inclusive Eye Project said the choice of community health workers is because they have the first contact with the community. Thus, they can act as a liaison between the community and the health centers.
“After this training, the health workers are expected to take an active part in the provision of primary eye care in their communities, organize outreaches in collaboration with the primary eye health district and Community Based Rehabilitation field workers, as well as identify persons with visual impairment and link them to rehabilitation services,” he stressed.
Ndi Dianna, a Participant from St. Patrick Health Center Bishua in Nkambe said “the workshop has been an eye opener for me, it has equipped me with skills to be able to offer primary eye care in my community”
On his part, Anyam John from Esu in Wum says “I have mapped out areas in my community and identified social gathering in which I will carry out health talks on eye care.” I look forward to collaborating with community stakeholders to mobilize the community to benefit from planned outreach screenings, he said
It should be noted that, since the start of the implementation of the Inclusive Eye Care Project, many stakeholders such as nurses, Organization of Persons Disabilities, and community health workers have been trained to improve access to eye care.
This workshop organized with support from CBM took place at the Baptist Center Nkwen Bamenda on 22nd July 2022.