Saturday, April 9, 2011

COL Cameroon Link Programme Targets Women and Youths

The on-going Commonwealth of Learning Open Distance Programme in Lebialem Division has targeted women and youths of Azi Traditional Head Quarters as appropriate community outreach channel. This was revealed during a workshop organized by the Commonwealth of Learning Cameroon Link Partnership for some 30 participants drawn from various professions including media, community development, health, education, agriculture, social welfare, animal rearing, traditional leadership representation and high school students.
The outreach Commonwealth of Learning programme in Lebialem is using community radio to design education and information productions on mother and child health care issues with the participation of local communities.
During the workshop at Ema Azi Palace in Lebialem, chaired by His Royal Majesty, Fon Njifua, epilepsies, mental disorder, sickle cell disorder and problems faced by albinos were included on the agenda as new public health awareness areas of concern in the region. Some mothers attribute these problems to witchcraft due to ignorance and lack of sufficient information.
His Royal Majesty, Fon Fontem Njifua told the Commonwealth of Learning facilitators and participants that the births of albinos is on the increase, while epilepsies and mental disorder in persons is re-occurring in the forest zone from Fosung village to Becheti in Wabane sub division. It is feared that the problems would spread to other areas of Lebialem if research is not carried out immediately to find out the causes of the health problems and arrest the situation before it becomes late.
The Commonwealth of Learning Cameroon Link Liaison, James Achanyi-Fontem, used the opportunity to speak on the importance of breastfeeding, considering the low rate in most villages. He handed prizes for the health quiz organized during the Cameroon Youth Week(4-11 February) and the International Women’s Day (8 March) activities in Lebialem.
The prizes worth CFA 50.000 to CFA 10.000, exercise books and pens were distributed to the first three best radio scripts writers. Two students of the Government Technical College in Menji presented a radio script on how to prevent Cholera and won the first prize. Other wrote scripts on how to promote mother and child health care amongst youths. The winners were given the opportunity to talk on what motivated them to write the scripts and how they were developed. Most of the scripts were centered on the promotion of gender equity with communities.
Other scripts were on HIV and traditional healing, the prevention of unwanted pregnancies in colleges, and the disadvantages of teenage early sex relationship. The winning scripts were written by Agendia Terence and Tajoache Zachs of Government Technical College Fontem, Emesong Miriam Alemkia of Government Teacher Training College, Tengongwo Divine and Njifua Joan of Government High School Azi.
During the presentation of papers on selected issues, Anastasia Atabong, who is the secretary general of Fine Forest Foundation Cameroon and Deputy Mayor of Menji Municipal Council lectured on Sickle Cell Disorder awareness, blaming some parents for attributing the disease to witchcraft practice. She explained that sickle cell disorder is hereditary and that it can be prevented by screening before contracting marriages. If two sickle cell patients got married and gave birth to a baby, the child likely to inherit the sickle cell and grow help as sickle cell carriers. The child will be regularly sick Anastasia Atabong said, as she took time to explain how such children are treated within the community with the avoidance of stigmatization.
Diana Mbu, a nurse and mid wife of Azi District Hospital lectured on the different stages of care as far as maternal and child care is concerned. Emphasizing on the mother and child care development chain, she invited men to be more supportive to their partners before, during and after birthing of their babies. Mothers were called upon to respect the immunization appointment days and get their children vaccinated. She added that mothers are counseled in care centers in the division every week.
Peter Monet Otto, a community health worker from Fine Forest Foundation Cameroon advised the participants to adopt a family planning policy as a means of improving on livelihood, explaining that family planning is not just limitation of birth, but child spacing in the context of Cameroon. In some countries and parts of the world, family planning stands for limitation of births.
He emphasized that parents should give birth to children, that they will have the means to bring them up and guarantee their education, nutrition, housing and well being as child rights.
COL Cameroon Link current activities focus on “Mother and Child Health Care” rights as an advocacy channel for behaviour change communication. The radio health programmes produced weekly:
• Continue to challenge trade laws that prioritize profit over access to life-saving possibilities.
• Create women’s leadership and ownership training opportunities within local communities by the establishment of or collaboration with local health area women gender councils and related health taskforces.
• Educate, inform, lobby funding organizations and service providers for the involvement of young persons, especially teen mothers in care and support activities,
• Promote social norm change campaigns through publications, participation in local community radio and television programmes, fostering relationships with media outlets and through well recognized male and female celebrities for the promotion of women and child rights.
• Participate in planning, organizing and broadcasting programmes during UN international and national days with women’s involvement in radio live shows and pre-recorded programmes on Mother and Child Health Care rights.
It is understood that the subject of mother and child health care is very vast and this is the reasons for putting in place a community of learning orientation committee in Menji to discuss and decide on the issues treated during the weekly programmes on Lebialem Community Radio.
From Azi, COL Cameroon Link Partnership strategy will be focusing on Alou sub division during its next outing in June 2011. COL is an intergovernmental organisation created by Commonwealth Heads of Government to encourage the development and sharing of open learning and distance education knowledge, resources and technologies. For more information, click on the following links: or

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