Wednesday, June 13, 2012

UNICEF REINFORCES CAPACITIES OF CBOs ON PMTCT OF HIV By Ojong Helen Ayamba, Cameroon Link Email: Some 50 selected active Community Based Organisations (CBO) and Community Health Relay Agents in the health district of Bonassama have received training as community social mobilisation support groups for the research of missing cases within the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV programme in Cameroon. The training organised by the Health District of Bonassama in collaboration with UNICEF Cameroon was a follow up of an initial workshop targeting health workers within health facilities. The training aimed at capacitating the community health relay agents sponsored UNICEF is a programme on the support and mobilisation of expectant mothers to go for screening of HIV and if declared positive, be supported in various ways. At the end of the training, the participants acknowledged that they are now well informed on the rate of HIV infection of pregnant mothers, the modes of transmission of HIV from mother to child, risk factors of transmission, strategies for prevention, counselling and screening, taking a decision on feeding of a newly born baby, the elements of psychosocial care of an infected pregnant mother, collaboration and linkages with the health district, coordination of the interventions surrounding prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV and care within the health district, coordination within the different structures intervening like the national programme, maternity, the Screening and Care Centre, laboratories, and support groups only to name a few. Insistence was put on the role played by community support groups and their functions within the health district, how to communicate and send out pertinent information messages within communities on the importance of PMTCT of HIV and adequate use of the services of existing structures and support of persons infected or affected with families within the community in collaboration with the health district services. The reason for the training was based on the fact that out of 15.800.000 inhabitants, 575.000 babies are expected to be born at a time the prevalence is rated at 5.5%. This means that 25.000 babies are infected with HIV where there is no rapid intervention before, during and after birth. Intervention services exist but they are not used regularly to avoid infection of infants. The strategies put in place consist of preventing the transmission of HIV in pregnant women, girls at the age of puberty and future mothers, prevention of pregnancies for already infected mothers, prevention of transmission from the mother to child of HIV and guarantee of care and support of the mother, the child and the family. It was revealed by the facilitator, Dr. Nzima Nzima Valery, Chief Medical Officer for Bonassama Health District, that the attendance at HIV screening and care centres is low, there is insufficient sharing of information within the communities. For these reason, the mobilisation of the population to access the available services through the use and involvement of associations like the Red Cross, Community Based Organisations is recommended. The Community Based Organisations (CBO) involved were already trained within the on-going Scaling Up Malaria control for Impact (SUFI). These CBOs are current undertaking home visit within the mosquito net hang up campaign, which include verification of the effective intermittent prevention of pregnant women. This gives a good opportunity for the community relay agents to have contacts with the pregnant women, counsel and organise educative talks within the communities. The current training reinforces the outreach capacities of the CBOs in the health district of Bonassma.The SUFI CBOs trained included COGESID Bonamikano, Bonamassombwa, CEV St. Kisito, Muan Dye, MEWA, Dominance Jeunes Dames, Famille Batoufam, AJMA first Class, Lengang Mbong, Rural Help Project, Cameroon Link, Amical des Habitants ALPICAM, Bongkisheri Women, Meres sensibles, Bonangando Essome, AJEGBO, Amie Intime, Batissons l'Avenir, Ngo Nguem, RAFED 4, JARDIN, Femmes Sinceres, Achenadia Development Association,Femmes Dynamiques, COGESID Mambanda, Association de Solidarite Sante des Femmes, Ass. Jeunes New Style, Association Jeune Debrouillard.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

ICT Training in Arusha, Tanzania Mike Achanyi Fontem,ICT Officer & Consultant All our way from west and East Africa to Arusha – Tanzania, nine out of ten answered present at the Regional farm radio office for Africa in Arusha – Tanzania for the training workshop. The participants came from the selected countries; (1) Yaw Nkrumah – Ghana (2) Thomas Engida – Ethiopia (3) Mike Fontem – Cameroon (4) Philip Chinhokwe – Malawi (5) Vedaste Ufiste – Rwanda (6) Daniel Ninsiima – Uganda (7) Evan Kinyanjui – Kenya (8) Seta magabe – Tanzania (9) Daniel mtei – Tanzania Lamine Togola the Malian was absent, reason being refusal of an entry visa for Tanzania. One day one at 9:43a.m all equipments were already set up in the training room and the nine technical administrators each introduced themselves and said what position they hold in their organisation and their functions. The two trainers, Bartholomew Sullivan, who is Radio ICT specialist and Brenda Burreil equally introduced themselves after Tichafara Sigauke the lead key ICT trainer from Zimbabwe who has a complete mastery of Freedom Fone. He was trained in India.
An evaluation form was given to each participant to fill while giving the full meanings of terms such as IVR and VoIP. Still on the form the participants had to say how Freedom Fone will be of importance and how they shall deliver the service to radio stations in each country for interacting with farmers. During an interactive session with participants, Bartholomew asked two very technical questions: How many persons have ever come across freedom fone? Only three participants confirmed by raising up their hands. The next question was how many persons are familiar with Ubuntu/Linux? Six trainees confirmed. The cat was then let out of the bag as explained below: • Freedom Fone is free software that creates interactive, voice-based communication services for organisations or bodies seeking to engage with communities across mobile networks. • Freedom Fone uses voice menus to share information with any target audience, SMS polls to organise opinion surveys and callers can also leave voice and text messages on the service where call data records can be safely stored, organised and evaluated. • There are no geographical limitations to Freedom Fone. By taking advantage of both audio and text functions, Freedom Fone makes it easy to create and share information across literacy barriers in any language. Freedom Fone provides an effective, user-friendly and low-cost solution that helps empower marginalised communities and bridge the digital divide. The training schedule for the week was distributed to all trainees after the above introduction of Freedom Fone. During the first week, eleven (11) chapters of the training manual were covered from Monday – Saturday. Chapter one was very practical as it focused on login to FF home page as admin and, creating Poll, LAM, IVR and uploading contents and sub-contents for user. Day 2: Tuesday 22th May 2012 Chapter 2:- Network configuration Chapter 3:- Twinkle & SMS script Chapter 4:- Telephony 101/ MobiGater Chapter5:- Office Route. The above four chapters were covered , all devices and accessories of the MobiGater and Office Route were equal shown to the ICT consultants and how to configure MobiGater, resetting the office route 2N and they were shown the magic of technology via the assembled and well configured equipments. This phase of the training according to Mike was not easy as in the first day, because they all had to install Ubuntu on their machines individually from the DVD that was provided to them. Run command prompts and inserting the correct text string and checking eth:0, IP addresses, testing and others. Picture of the training session were arranged and forwarded to the participants.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Radio ICT Administrators Trained In Arusha Courtesy of FRI Africa Region
From the 20th May – 2nd June, 2012 Freedom Fone and Farm Radio International hosted a Technical Administrators Training Workshop in Arusha, Tanzania. The aim of the workshop was to build the capacity of local technicians - also known as Freedom Fighters - to be able to support Freedom Fone deployments in their own countries. Participants came from countries across Africa including Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and almost all are employed as ICT support officers by community radio stations. The one exception was Daniel Ninsiima who uses Freedom Fone at Makarere University in Kampala to disseminate agricultural extension information to farmers in south western Uganda. Farm Radio International includes Freedom Fone in its suite of new technologies to create participatory radio programmes. Participants at the workshop are expected to return to their countries and deploy the platform in 17 radio stations in 10 countries over June/July 2012.
Voice based response for crisis reporting A research project by LIRNEasia in partnership with Sarvodaya, Sri Lanka's largest development organisation, has produced a YouTube documentary entitled Do You Hear Me about the importance of voice based response platforms for crisis reporting. It is hoped that in time resources will be raised to integrated Freedom Fone with the Sahana Disaster Management Software for this purpose. It is clear that text to speech and synthetic voices for Sri Lankan languages would contribute greatly to reducing work load and enhancing efficiency over periods of crisis. This process is not straight forward and more research is still required before automated conversions between speech and text can be used during a crisis situation. Watch the video for more information. Testing Dialler Version This month will be dedicated to testing our Freedom Fone Dialler - Version 2.D. The Dialler can be used to automate campaign calling and connect recipients to a pre-designed IVR (voice menu). It also enables users to offer a free to caller callback service which can be accessed by beeping a designated number or sending the equivalent of a 'call me' text message. Localisation news The Freedom Fone Advocacy and User Guide is available in French and Spanish - thanks to Brent Barber (French) and Charo Atauri (Spanish). Portuguese localisation of the User Interface is underway. Spotlight on... The participants during the training focused on Radio 5, a busy commercial radio station in Arusha, Tanzania. Thanks to Bart Sullivan, Farm Radio International's Radio & ICT Specialist, all of the trainees on the Arusha workshop were offered an opportunity to present Freedom Fone to Radio 5's staff and management. By the end of the session all present were very enthusiastic to start using Freedom Fone to enhance interactivity with their listeners and to assist with advertising. Radio 5 will become the first commercial radio station to use Freedom Fone should they go ahead with plans