Cameroon Link holds bilateral talks with Malaria No More
By Camlink News Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
James Achanyi-Fontem, is a Senior Health Journalist and Communication Consultant. He worked as a health journalist and broadcaster for 30 years with Radio Cameroon and later Cameroon Radio Television, CRTV before retiring in 2005 to engage fully with Cameroon Link (Human Assistance Programme). Cameroon Link is a registered charity, not-for-profit organisation involved in the promotion of community health, humanitarian assistance, promotion of women and child rights through involvement of communities in Cameroon for mother and child health care. Cameroon Link is a partner to Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Farm Radio International (FRI), International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN Africa), World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). As the intermediary of Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Cameroon Link is engaged to implement a Cameroon Rural Radio story design Programming through an investigative research, which aims to discover through interviewing beneficiaries of health programmes on their interests, documenting and disseminating new ideas about how radio stations produce and air Healthy Communities Radio Programs in Cameroon.