Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Courtesy of COL, Professor Asha Kanwar, President and CEO of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), announced the appointment of Mr. Visagan (Vis) Naidoo as COL's Vice President. Mr. Naidoo, Citizenship Lead at Microsoft South Africa joins COL on 1 October 2012. Mr. Naidoo has been involved in the development of educational technology policy options both in South Africa and internationally, including at COL in the past 20 years.
"COL will be privileged to have Vis Naidoo in Vancouver as Vice-President", said Professor Kanwar, "he has a vast range of experience in universities, civil society, government, international development and the private sector, at senior levels, which makes him an excellent choice for the post. His experience and background will be an important asset to COL as it implements its new Three-Year Plan for the period 2012-2015." A national of South Africa, Mr. Naidoo was Education Specialist for Educational Technology Policy and Planning at COL from 2000 to 2005. He moved back to South Africa to head Mindset Network, a non-profit organisation that creates sources and distributes educational content on a mass scale across Southern Africa using satellite and broadcast technology. Most recently, at Microsoft South Africa, he led the company's social responsibility and employee volunteer programme, focusing on supporting youth in South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. Prior to joining COL in 2000, Mr. Naidoo was the Director of the Centre for Educational Technology and Distance Education, Department of Education, South Africa. During his five years as Director, he was instrumental in shaping policy environment in the area of distance education and technology-enhanced learning. COL conducted an extensive international search to select a successor to Professor Kanwar as Vice President when she was named President of COL earlier this year. The Commonwealth of Learning is an intergovernmental organisation created by Commonwealth Heads of Government to encourage the development and sharing of open learning/distance education knowledge, resources and technologies. COL is assisting developing nations improve access to quality education and training. The Commonwealth is comprised of 53 countries -- most of which are developing nations that make one-quarter of the world's population. For more information, please visit the following web sites.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cameroon Link holds bilateral talks with Malaria No More

By Camlink News Email:
Cameroon Link and Malaria No More held bilateral talks at Elig Essono - Yaounde on the 24th August, 2012 to discuss collaboration strategies within the expansion of a community of learning and radio distance learning initiative in Cameroon. The executive director of Cameroon Link, James Achanyi-Fontem was invited for a meeting with Olivia Ngou, the Malaria No More Regional Coordinator for Central Africa with headquarters in Yaoundé.
During the meeting, Mrs. Ngou informed Cameroon Link that Malaria No More is supporting the government for scaling up malaria control for impact throughout the country. The Malaria No More Programme has been launched in the Far North, North, Adamoua and East regions of Cameroon. The bilateral meeting with Cameroon Link aimed at finding ways to involve community radio stations in the Centre, South, Littoral, West, South West, North West regions through the on-going Commonwealth of Learning supported initiative in Cameroon. The regional coordinator for Malaria No More said, Night Watch Campaign is on-going in Senegal and Tanzania, during which celebrities are used for transmitting a nightly mosquito net reminder key message to the populations through television and radio channels. Messages like “It’s 9 pm… are you and your family safe under your mosquito nets tonight?” are already being broadcast in Cameroon. The involvement of community radio stations in Cameroon aim at translating the messages into national local languages in a way to reach many more families. It would be noted that Cameroon in the last few months of 2011 distributed long lasting insecticidal bed nets. Millions of families received mosquito nets for the first time in August 2011, but in order for mosquito nets to be effective, people must use them properly and regularly. For this reason, there is a critical need to educate populations in the malaria-endemic areas and inform them of the active role they can play in protecting themselves and defeating the preventable malaria disease. Malaria No More has invited other partners of social networks to join them to remind the populations of the value of bed nets – “Remember to sleep under your treated mosquito net tonight! Sleeping under a treated mosquito net is one of the best ways to protect yourself from malaria. Sleep Peacefully!”. Night Watch: “Sleep Peacefully!” The Night Watch program aims to increase the utilization of mosquito nets in communities across Cameroon through a targeted, interactive media campaign that strikes nightly at 9 p.m.. The idea is simply to broadcast a 30 seconds message with a signature tune and to recognize local celebrities – 7 nights a week through radio, televisions and SMS texting to remind people to sleep under their mosquito nets. The role of Cameroon Link would be to carry out a base line study of the community radio stations in the regions mentioned above to participate in a story design programming format and to get the local language broadcasters to translate the key messages for the local audiences. This recognizes the fact that media campaigns serve as great complements to community based health communication efforts. To supplement the media, bill boards have created and placed in strategic points of the ten regions of Cameroon. This is taking the malaria campaign message more widely. Since community radio is strategically placed, customized media messages will harness the influence of local leadership and celebrities to create buzz and highlight the need for consistent use of mosquito nets in Cameroon. Confirmed spokes persons for Night Watch so far include: Alexandre Song, Lady Ponce, Petit Pays, Richard Bona, Luc Mbah a Moute, Les Nubians, Youssou NDour, R. Kelly, Akon, Sine, Princesse Khadizah, Frederique Ottou, Afo Akom, X-Maleya and Pit Baccardi. Community radio stations would be in addition to the reminder message and the nightly media messages, design and include key facts that reinforce the need for net use and other healthy behaviours as a means of reinforcing core messaging. Malaria No More is an American International Non-Governmental Organisation. It is located in the Immeuble White, Suite 302, next to Hotel Tango in Elig Essono- Yaoundé.

Cameroon Minister of Public Health Worried about Low Breastfeeding Rates

Cameroon Celebrated WBW from August 24- 31, 2012 By Cameroon Link,
The Cameroon Minister of Public Health, His Excellency, Andre Mama Fouda, has called on women attached to the WHO/UNICEF recommendation to breastfeed their babies exclusively for the first 6 months and to continue breastfeeding thereafter with complimentary feeding up to 24 months and beyond. He was speaking during the launching of the celebration of the World Breastfeeding Week on the 24th August 2012 at the Biyem Assi - Yaoundé district hospital. The official ceremony was attended by ministers of women’s empowerment and the family, representatives of UN Agencies in Cameroon including WHO and UNICEF. Activities were plan for one full week in all regions following the national mass event in the nation’s capital in the presence of over 5.000 actors during from all sectors of the comunity. Ahead of the event, preparatory sharing workshops were organised at the department for health promotion on the 10th and 24th July, 23rd August, 2012 coordinated by the Sub Director of Food and Nutrition, Okala Georges. Participants outlined six points which included a feedback from the WBW 2011 and exchanged views on the theme of World Breastfeeding Week 2012, “Understanding the past, planning for the future.”
The Executive Director of Cameroon Link, James Achanyi-Fontem, told the audience at the ceremony place that over 40 national organisations involved in child rights and infant feeding issues reached over 20.000 mothers in 2011. He lamented on the fact that breastfeeding rates are as low as 20 %. He called for the integration of breastfeeding in the national nutrition programme expected to take off from 2013. Achanyi-Fontem, who is also the chair of the Federation of Cameroon Breastfeeding Promotion Associations, FECABPA, appreciated the accuracy of reports presented which highlighted all out comes and difficulties encountered during the celebration of past World Breastfeeding Weeks like the lack of enough sensitization materials and funding for social mobilisation and community outreach of the populations.
Looking at the theme for WBW 2012, "Understanding the past, planning the future”, it was made public that World Breastfeeding Week was 20 years old already, while the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding launched by WHO and UNICEF in 2002 celebrated its 10th anniversary. The Executive Director of Cameroon Link and FECABPA, said it was an opportunity to access the achievements of the past 20 years, evaluate national policies and especially the 2005 Decree on the marketing of breastmilk substitutes and its implementation, analyse the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats before planning for the future and bridging the gaps. To facilitate execution of the action plans submitted by the different nutrition associations, documents, T-shirts, exercise books, folders and sensitisation leaflets were distributed to the associations. Infant and Young Child Feeding Association in Cameroon organisation a WBW 2012 village at the ceremony place in Biyem Assi Hospital to show case the activities and shared information and research documents on the breastfeeding trends in Cameroon, regionally and globally. WBW 2012 SPECIFICITIES I. Background and Rationale Since 1991, the international community has celebrated WBW from 1 to 7 August of each year. This event gives an opportunity for the Ministry of Public Health and its partners to raise awareness on the importance of breastfeeding for child survival and promotion of maternal health. Indeed, 20 years ago the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) launched its first World Breastfeeding Week under the theme of the “Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI)”. In celebrating this anniversary , it was the right time to take stock of what has happened during these years , celebrate successes and achievements and see what has not been done, to be able to plan the future better, and to support all women in their ability to feed their infants and young children and care optimally . The DHS surveys conducted from 1991 to 2011 showed a marked increase in the rate of exclusive breastfeeding up to six months between 1991 and 2004. This was due to the implementation of the National Policy of Breastfeeding validated in 1994 by the Ministry of Public Health, community awareness and training of health personnel during past World Week of Breastfeeding (WBW ). The trends of Exclusive Breastfeeding in Cameroon recorded are as follows: 1991 = 7 % , 1998 = 12 % , 2004 = 24 % , 2006 = 21 % , 2011 = 20 %. From the above you will note that there has been a regression from 2006 until 2011. The consequences of this decrease are numerous both for children, families and the community, as the heavy price is rated in terms of infant deaths and illnesses of children. 122 % of infant deaths occur according to the infant DHS - MICS IV. In Cameroon, one in three deaths is due to poor practices of breastfeeding. To reverse the trend, we need to promote and encourage breastfeeding at community-based level with the interventions of fathers, mothers, youths and the community as a whole. There are local associations and international NGOs that support the health system by promoting infant and young child feeding. As part of the celebration of World Breastfeeding Week 2012, emphasis was placed on promotional activities of breastfeeding within communities across Cameroon. II. General Objective Promotion of breastfeeding through community-based activities III. Specific Objectives 1. Educate and sensitize communities, mothers and women of childbearing age on breastfeeding advantages to the mother and child. 2. Boost activities in the community to support all women in their practice of breastfeeding. 3. Inform the community that the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding is a right of the mother and a right of the child. In short, it is a human right. 4. Strengthen advocacy with communities for strong action in favour of breastfeeding and Infant and Young Child Feeding. 5. Involving community volunteers and members of CBOs in the implementation of activities during World Breastfeeding Week. IV. Expected results 1. Communities, mothers and women of childbearing age are sensitized and aware of advantages of breastfeeding. 2. Activities within communities in favour of supporting women in their project of breastfeeding are driven. 3. The community is informed that the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding is a right for the child , mother and above all, a human right; 4. The plea for strong actions are taken in favour of Breastfeeding is enhanced. V. Methodology Execution Strategy 1. Animation of mothers' groups and communities on breastfeeding through educative talks. 2. Production and distribution of documentaries on breastfeeding; 3. Awareness campaigns through the media and opinion leaders 4. Animations of radio quiz and organisation of national local languages broadcasts on WBW; 5. Organisation of Debates, open door discussions / exchanges.