Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Cameroon Link Shares Experiences on Lebialem Community Radio Story Design
By Ayamba Helen Egbe, COL Camlink News
Cameroon Link has shared experiences on how Lebialem Community Radio, LCR, in Menji is used as a tool for promoting health open distance learning through high quality story design programming with the national focal point, Prof. Ivo Leke Tambo. Prof. Tambo received the Liaison person of the COL Cameroon Link Partnership, James Achanyi-Fontem, on June 7, 2011 at the Secretariat General of the Ministry of Secondary Education. He informed Prof. Tambo that the theme of the COL Lebialem programme piloted by Cameroon Link is on “Mother and Child Health Care Promotion” and at the end of the pilot phase in November 2011, the use of ICTs and Community Media for Open Distance Learning is expected to be scaled up at national level to create opportunities for execution of similar programmes in other regions of Cameroon. He reliably informed the focal point that the Media Action Commonwealth of Learning Programme is supervised by the International Coordinator of the Media Development Unit of COL, Ian Pringle, based in Vancouver, Canada.
Discussions on scaling up the programme at national level started already with the Commonwealth of Learning Focal Point for Cameroon, Professor Ivo Leka Tambo, who doubles as the Secretary General at the Ministry of secondary education promising to update the government through the Prime Minister on the evolution of activities and the possible visit of Ian Pringle in Cameroon next September 2011 . Local broadcasters have been trained by COL facilitators from Malawi, Charles Simbi and Gladson Makowa , on the conception of story design programmes and how to get the listeners involved in the production process on weekly basis.
During the exchange of experiences last May 28, 2011 with Dominique Konji Konji , who has conducted a research on the knowledge, attitudes and practices on immunization and tuberculosis , he provided insights on the vision of health in Cameroon by the year 2035. Some of the issues discussed with Konji Konji were highlighted for inclusion in the COL media action scaling up programme proposal.
On the 7th June 2011, the COL Camlink liaison person, James Achanyi-Fontem, handed over a copy of the mid-term report of activities in Lebialem to Professor Tambo, discussed the follow up of activities and the proposal for scaling up activities nationwide with the involvement of the national education ministries of basic and secondary education, the eminent visit of the International Coordinator of COL Open Distance Media Development Unit based in Vancouver, Canada, Ian Pringle, in September, the possibility of Cameroon sharing its experiences during the forthcoming 7th Pan Commonwealth of Learning Forum slated in South Africa in September and the participation as guest of Professor Leke Tambo in a planned special national television production to highlight activities of Commonwealth of Learning in Cameroon since the 24th August,2006, when he was appointed by the Prime Minister and Head of Government of Cameroon as COL Focal Point, in addition to his administrative function as the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Secondary Education.
Addressing issues raised during the audience, he praised the efforts of Cameroon Link and Lebialem Community Radio for the valued amount of work realized by within a short space of time in the context of the current COOL partnership. He added that the COL Media Development action in Lebialem is a good initiative that needs to be copied and that he is very ready to support the scaling up at national level in Cameroon. The Prime Minister needs to be informed of the work done, he added.
Prof. Leke Tambo observed that Cameroon will be very delighted to receive Ian Pringle in Lebialem, Cameroon in September 2011, as he cautioned that preparation should start now and that local authorities in Menji, should be informed and sensitized for mobilisation of the different actors, because September is the heart of the rainy season in that part of the region of Cameroon. On the special COL Cameroon televised programme of activities, he advised that this should happen before July or from the third week of August 2011, because these periods are very busy for release of academic results in Cameroon and preparation of a new academic year in Cameroon.
He concluded by promising to write his recommendation after going through the content of the mid-term report COL Media Open Distance Learning using Lebialem Community Radio as the delivery medium. For more on the Cameroon Health Vision by 2035, click on “BCH”
CEO Cameroon Link
President, Cameroon Writers Association
Afutendem Lucas Nkwetta of University of Dschang, in the west region of Cameroon sat in for Cameroon Link, pilot of the Cameroon Writers Association,CWA, during the International Conference of African Writers held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in May, 2011. The central goal of the conference was to invigorate the minds of African youths and to instigate African writers to bring forth ideas and experiences stored in their minds so that they may share it with the youth of Africa for contributing original ideas to facilitate the growth and development of the continent.
The Conference has brought together prominent and renowned literary men and women of Africa together and the Conference organizers wanted to ensure that the African spirit of indomitability is extended to bringing cultural, popular, intellectual, and economic unity to Africa’s rich, diverse and large continent.
The Conference was designed with the promising hope that the views and visions that the distinguished guests took to the conference in Addis Ababa will throw more light into the minds of Africans to cultivate positive and rewarding conceptualizations of self.
The Conference was organized by a Steering Committee consisting of the Ethiopian Writers Association, the Secretary General of the Academy of the Ethiopian Languages and Cultures, and the Director of the Institute of African Studies of the Addis Ababa University. The Organizing Committee
was given the responsibility to take care of all the nitty gritty details and logistics of making the Conference successful. In order to accomplish its tasks, it organized itself into five Activating Committees caring for Logistics, Fundraising, Communications, Publications and Programming.
Like all big ventures, the main problem was getting in touch with participants, and getting the necessary funding to run the Conference. It was finally possible to contact the General Secretary of PAWA (Pan-African Writers Association), Prof. AtukweiOkai in Accra, Ghana and together, they succeeded in bringing together a wonderful group of distinguished participants, who presented more than forty papers in two days from May 2-4, 2011.
The major areas covered by the papers are African Literature, African Languages, and African Politics, Culture and Philosophy. The ideas expressed in the various papers were reported to have fulfilled the main goal of the Conference as indicated above. Participants hoped that such Conferences will continue at reasonable intervals so that they may bear fruits, and that African ideas may be able to serve as a source of solutions for most of the ills and problems that plague our global village and our continent. Throughout their stay in Ethiopia, the conference participants gave careful thought on how to further follow up and resolve the continent’s issues and different African Writers Associations were tasked to expand the fraternal spirit in the different countries.
This Conference would not have been possible without the support and encouragement of higher Government Officials, including the President of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, H.E. President GirmaWolde-Giorgis who received the conference guests in a presidential dinner, Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, H.E. Ato. MelesZenawi, Mayor of Addis Ababa, H.E. Ato. KumaDemeksa, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Education, Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, the Government Communications Office Minister, H.E. Ato. Bereket Simeon and all Federal Regional Government State Offices. Also, this Conference would not have been possible without the financial support received from Sheik Mohammed Alamud in, Ethiopian Airlines, Ethiopian Shipping Lines, Ethiopian Development Bank, Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, and Prince Beide Mariam Mekonnnen (Wabe Shebelle Hotel). The organizers of the international conference have expressed thanks ang gratitude to the following institutions of higher education: Addis Ababa University, Axum University, Bahir Dar University, Dilla University, Haromaya University, Hawasa University, Gondar University, Jijiga University, Mekelle University and Jimma University for their support in organizing a nationwide cultural and university tour for the participants who came from all over Africa including Cameroon.
The following institutions were also an invaluable support to the organization: AIDS Resources Center, MGTour and Travel, Awash Bank, Abay Bank, Abyssinia Bank, Ethiopian Postal Services and NOC. Ethiopia has several branches of Writers Association for national work and cooperation.
The Cameroon Writers Association through Cameroon Link expresses sincere thanks and gratitude to their fraternal brothers and sisters of the Pan African Writers Association, PAWA, piloted by Professor AtukweiOkai in Accra, Ghana and the Ethiopian Writers Association of Dr. AwolEndris and SefanitMesfin for extending an invitation to Cameroon through the Cameroon Writers Association and Cameroon Link.
The Health District of Bonassama in the littoral region of Cameroon published its results for the selection of a civil society organizations(CSO) and community based organizations (CBO) to scale up malaria for impact on the 30th May 2011. Cameroon Link tops the list of six civil society organizations with a 100% score, followed by COGESID Baobab with 69% and Organisation Nationale de Droit de l’Homme (ONDH) scoring 50%. Three of organization GIC Maranatha, Jeunes Dynamiques (JEDY) and Association des Jeunes pour le Développement de Ilongue/Malimba(AJDIM) were disqualified from the race as not belonging or operating in the health district of Bonassama.
The selection was endorsed by the head of Bonassama Health District, Dr. Nzima Nzima Valery, 2nd Deputy Mayor of Douala IV, Manbagap Paul and the chair of the health district committee, Diboa Samuel. As concerns the community based organizations, 110 candidates went in for the selection test and only 99 quqlified. According to Dr. Nzima Nzima, the territory covered by the health district of Bonassama is using 110 CBOs, meaning 11 community based organizations need to be deployed for a full outreach of the population of the district.
Bonassama Health District is comprised of 11 health ares: Bonassama, Bonamikano, Nkomba, Mambanda, Bilingue, Ngwele, Bonendale, Bojongo, Djebale, Sodiko and Grand Hangar. The President of Cameroon Link; James Achanyi-Fontem, has explored issues that motivate the participation of his organization in the Global Fund Programme piloted by Plan Cameroon. Read about the burden of Malaria in pregnancy in Malaria-Endemic areas below:
The Burden of Malaria in Pregnancy in Malaria-Endemic Areas
By James Achanyi-Fontem,
CEO, Cameroon Link
Pregnant women in malarious areas may experience a variety of adverse consequences from malaria infection including maternal anemia, placental accumulation of parasites, low birth weight (LBW) from prematurity and intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR), fetal parasite exposure and congenital infection, and infant mortality (IM) linked to preterm-LBW and IUGR-LBW. Between 1985 and 2000, studies were and the malaria population attributable risk (PAR) that accounts for both the prevalence of the risk factors in the population and the magnitude of the associated risk for anemia, LBW, and IM was summarized. Consequences from anemia and human immunodeficiency virus infection in these studies were also considered. Population attributable risks were substantial: malaria was associated with anemia (PAR range = 3–15%), LBW (8–14%), preterm-LBW (8–36%), IUGR-LBW (13–70%), and IM (3–8%). Human immunodeficiency virus was associated with anemia (PAR range = 12–14%), LBW (11–38%), and direct transmission in 20–40% of newborns, with direct mortality consequences. Maternal anemia was associated with LBW (PAR range = 7–18%), and fetal anemia was associated with increased IM (PAR not available). It is estimated that each year 75,000 to 200,000 infant deaths are associated with malaria infection in pregnancy. The failure to apply known effective antimalarial interventions through antenatal programs continues to contribute substantially to infant deaths globally.
The problem of malaria infection in pregnant women was initially described nearly 65 years ago.1 Descriptive studies in sub-Saharan Africa from the 1950s through 1984 focused on Plasmodium falciparum infections and described the frequency of placental infection and specific adverse consequences.2–7 Relatively few population-based studies have been reported from Asia or the Americas, and where studies do exist, most have focused on high-transmission areas and infections with P. falciparum.8 Infection rates have been consistently demonstrated to be highest in women in their first and second pregnancies, with lower rates in later pregnancies.8–20 Because of high rates of parasitemia in pregnancy, particularly in many settings in sub-Saharan Africa, the World Health Organization has recommended presumptive malarial treatment followed by additional prevention measures during pregnancy.11
Plasmodium falciparum infection in pregnancy leads to parasite sequestration in the maternal placental vascular space, with consequent maternal anemia7, 12, 13 and infant low birth weight (LBW)8–10, 14–17 due to both prematurity15, 17 and intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR);8, 14, 15, 17 LBW is known to be the most important risk factor for infant mortality.18, 19 Anemia, undernutrition, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection are also common events in malarious areas and contribute to LBW. Malaria infection in pregnancy may lead to anemia in pregnancy, and HIV infection in pregnancy confers additional risk for higher frequency and higher density of malaria during pregnancy;20 thus, these conditions are integrally linked, and P. falciparum is not the only cause of LBW in these malaria-endemic settings.18 Low birth weight is also associated with newborn gender (more common in girls), maternal stature (more common in shorter and smaller women), and birth order (more common in first or low-birth-order pregnancies); however, these characteristics cannot be changed and are not amenable to interventions once a pregnancy has begun.
In the next year, an estimated more than 50 million pregnancies will occur in malaria-endemic areas, and approximately half of these will be in sub-Saharan Africa, where P. falciparum transmission is most intense.21 To assess the magnitude of the burden of malaria in pregnancy and its contribution to infant mortality, data from published and unpublished studies during the last 15 yr (1985–2000) and focused on sub-Saharan Africa was evaluated. This was where data are most available, because of the multiple pathways for the chain of events between maternal malaria infection and infant mortality. Experts specifically sought studies that evaluated malaria, anemia, and HIV infection and their contribution to low birth weight and potentially to infant mortality. There is a paucity of population-based data on malaria in pregnancy in settings of low malaria endemicity. Because malaria exposure in pregnancy is much less common in these lower-endemicity settings and may be caused by nonfalciparum species, which are thought to have less impact on the pregnancy, the burden of malaria in pregnancy in these other settings is likely to be relatively lower. However, because of our focus on the higher-endemicity settings, the estimates obtained from our review likely underestimate the total global burden of malaria infection in pregnancy.
Studies were reviewed and reported between 1985 and 2000 in which information was available on malaria infection in pregnancy; associated conditions (e.g., anemia, HIV infection); and/or adverse outcomes of pregnancy, including low birth weight, prematurity, and infant mortality. Medical specialists conducted a literature search using MEDLINE, cross-referencing the following terms: 1) malaria or falciparum malaria, 2) pregnancy, pregnancy complications, or pregnancy complications infectious, 3) HIV or HIV-1, and 4) anemia. For the designated years of 1985–2000, this review yielded 789 articles for categories 1+2 (malaria and pregnancy), 55 articles for categories 1+2+3, 98 articles for categories 1+2+4, and 15 articles for categories 1+2+3+4. Only articles written in English were reviewed. Because the search did not identify certain articles that were known to the researchers, who used references from selected articles to identify additional published literature for review. They also reviewed unpublished data from large studies for which published information was not yet available in countries like Mali and Kenya.
To be considered for incorporation in the final review, articles had to provide information on the frequency or prevalence of outcomes and risk factors and information on risk estimates, preferably from multivariate analysis for associations between multiple purported risk factors and outcomes. They focused on outcomes of maternal malaria infection (peripheral or placental infection), maternal anemia, LBW, preterm-LBW, IUGR-LBW, and infant mortality. When possible, they examined the contributions of P. falciparum malaria, anemia, and HIV to these adverse outcomes, both because each condition likely affects the others and because the evaluation allowed for relative comparisons of their impact on infant mortality, either directly (with HIV infection in the newborn) or through the contribution to preterm-LBW or IUGR-LBW. Maternal malaria infection and anemia were considered as risk factors and as outcomes in these analyses, because HIV may contribute to increased risk for malaria and malaria may contribute to increased risk of anemia. Only 2 study settings reported on estimates of the full sequence of events (e.g., malaria → BW → infant mortality) however, because the infant mortality risk associated with LBW is described in a variety of populations around the world, it was assumed that contributors to LBW were linked to subsequent infant mortality.
Finally, the researchers evaluated studies of interventions and the estimates of efficacy for interventions, examining the impact of ‘‘failing to use existing effective interventions’’ as a risk factor for the burden of malaria, LBW, and infant mortality. Because malaria prevention in pregnancy is not widely implemented and because few studies report on the actual implementation of interventions, it was assumed that the prevalence of the risk factor (i.e., ‘‘not receiving the intervention’’) was 90% in the populations.
A total of 34 reports were considered for this review .These reports came from 25 investigations in 8 sub-Saharan African countries (Kenya = 6 investigations; Malawi = 5; Tanzania = 3; Gambia = 2; Burkina Faso = 1; Cameroon = 1; Mali = 1; Mozambique = 1; and Uganda = 1) and 2 non-African settings (Papua New Guinea = 2 investigations; Thailand = 2). The study group sizes ranged from 159 to greater than 10,000 persons, and endemicity varied as seen by variations in maternal parasitemia rates between 6% in urban Mozambique and 65% in Tanzania. Additionally, the categorization of variables ranged widely, as demonstrated by the variable criteria for anemia (any, mild or moderate, or severe). Finally, 12 studies were largely observational but may have reported on the effect of interventions, whereas 13 studies involved intervention trials.
Plasmodium falciparum malaria in pregnancy appeared to contribute to anemia and LBW through both preterm-LBW and IUGR-LBW in a relatively consistent fashion across different studies and settings. The prevalence of malaria infection in pregnancy ranged from approximately 10% to 65% across the settings where these associations were observed. The prevalence of the conditions of severe anemia, LBW, preterm-LBW, and IUGR-LBW; the risk estimates from various studies; and the PAR for malaria’s contribution to these conditions are high. Estimates of malaria’s contribution to LBW were modest and consistent across studies—accounting for approximately 8–14% of LBW and IUGR-LBW and approximately 8–36% of preterm LBW.
From 2 studies, maternal malaria was estimated to contribute to 3–8% of infant mortality. One study47 provided a much higher PAR estimate (30%) for infant mortality caused by maternal malaria infection, but this was an ecologic comparison between very different communities, and unmeasured contributions to infant mortality may have biased this estimate.
Maternal anemia during pregnancy, associated with maternal malaria or many other causes, ranged in prevalence from 2–30% (based on differing cutoffs for hemoglobin levels; Maternal anemia appears to contribute to a PAR ranging from 7% to 18% for LBW and less than 48% for IUGR-LBW. Published studies did not describe relative contributions to preterm-LBW, and one indirect estimate suggested that maternal anemia may contribute to approximately one-fourth of infant mortality. Summary associations and population attributable risk (PAR) estimates for anemia in pregnant women and its contribution to low birth weight (LBW) attributable to preterm delivery or intrauterine
Maternal HIV infection has been shown to contribute to maternal malaria, maternal anemia, LBW, and direct infection of the newborn infant, which currently is 100% fatal. The prevalence of maternal HIV infection in areas where maternal malaria studies have been reported has ranged from 3% to 27%. HIV is estimated to contribute to malaria infection in pregnancy (PAR = 10–27%), maternal anemia (PAR = 12–15%), and LBW (PAR = 11–38%). Because HIV infection of the newborn is fatal, the contribution of HIV to infant mortality may reach or exceed 50% in some settings with high rates of maternal HIV infection and high rates of mother-to-infant HIV transmission.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
By Prisca Ngeryi, camlink
On the invitation of the NGO “Building Capacities for Better Health in Africa, (BCH Africa), led by Dominique Kondji Konji, Cameroon Link shared the experiences of the Commonwealth of Learning, COL , Programme in Lebialem Division, in the south west region of Cameroon last May 28, 2011. BCH Africa is a national health and non-governmental organization founded in 2001 through an initiative of a group of persons working in various fields of community socio-economic development and who are willing to increase public awareness on health related issues and to empower communities through training and development of communication within the frame work of the national health policy and strategy defined by the Cameroon government.
Cameroon Link shared experiences on how Lebialem Community Radio, LCR, in Menji is used as a tool for health open distance learning through high quality story design programming. The theme of the COL Lebialem programme piloted by Cameroon Link is “Mother and Child Health Care Promotion”. At the end of the pilot phase in November 2011, the use of ICTs and Community Media for open distance learning will be scaled up at national level to create opportunities for execution of similar programmes across the territory of Cameroon in other regions. The Commonwealth of Learning Programme is supervised by the International Coordinator of the Media Development arm of COL, Ian Pringle, based in Vancouver, Canada.
Discussions on scaling up the programme at national level have started already with the Commonwealth of Learning Focal Point for Cameroon, Professor Ivo Leka Tambo, who doubles as the Secretary General at the Ministry of secondary education. Local broadcasters have been trained by COL facilitators from Malawi, Charles Simbi and Gladson Makowa , on how to conceive story design programmes and get the listeners involved in their production on weekly basis.
Duringt he exchange of experiences last May 28, 2011, Dominique Konji Konji , who has conducted research on the knowledge, attitudes and practices on immunization and tuberculosis provided insights on the vision of health in Cameroon up to the year 2035.
On the 7th June 2011, the Commonwelath of Learning national focal point for Cameroon, Professor Ivo Leke Tambo received in audience the Coordinator of the COL Cameroon Link Partnership Programme in Lebialem. During the audience, the COL Camlink liaison person, James Achanyi-Fontem, handed over a copy of the mid-term report of activities in Lebialem to Professor Tambo, discussed the follow up of activities in Lebialem and the proposal for scaling up activities nationwide with the involvement of the national education ministries of basic and secondary education, the eminent visit of the International Coordinator of COL Open Distance Media Development programme based in Vancouver, Canada, Ian Pringle, in September 2011,the possibility of Cameroon sharing its experiences during the forthcoming 7th Pan Commonwealth of Learning Forum slated in South Africa in September 2011 and the participation of Professor Leke Tambo in a special television production to highlight activities of Commonwealth of Learning in Cameroon since the 24th August,2006, when he was appointed by the Prime Minister and Head of Government of Cameroon in addition to his function as the Permanent Secretary at the Cameroon Ministry of Secondary Education.
Addressing issues raised during the audience, he started by lauding the amount of work realized by Cameroon Link and Lebialem Community Radio within the context of the current COOL partnership and added that it was a good example to copy and that he is very ready to support the scaling up at national level in Cameroon.
Prof. Leke Tambo remarked that Cameroon will be very delighted to receive Ian Pringle in Lebialem, Cameroon in September 2011, while cautioning that preparation should start now and that local authorities in Menji, should be informed and sensitized for mobilisation of the different actors, especially as September is the heart of the rainy season in that part of the region of Cameroon.
On the special COL Cameroon televised programme of activities, he advised that this should happen before July or from the third week of August 2011, because these period are very busy for preparation of the new academic year in Cameroon.
He concluded by promising to write on the report submitted and issues discussed after going through its content. To read more on the vision of health in Cameroon by the year 2035, click on the following link - http://cameroonlink.info/pages/partners.html. While on the page, click on BCH in colour at the end of the article to access the full presnetation by Konji Konji Dominique.