Friday, February 22, 2013

Commonwealth of Learning Workshop Goes To West Cameroon

The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) story design open distance learning programming is being scaled up in Cameroon using the community radio stations to promote healthy communities and the reduction of infant mortality. After Kumba, in the south west region, the interactive and participative story design workshop moved to the west region. According to the COL Cameroon Link Partnership project coordinator, James Achanyi-Fontem, twelve (12) community radio stations in Cameroon have already been engaged in the process of informing and educating mothers on how the achieve better health conditions and wellbeing by participating and listening to radio programmes designed by them on mother and child health protection. The participants in the workshop that just ended in Melong were drawn from the community radio stations in the west region, women’s community development organizations, experts from the health and social welfare sectors. The focus of programme content was infant and young child feeding with particular attention to breastfeeding. The radio story design community of learning programming aims at reducing maternal and infant mortality. Apart from the Commonwealth of Learning agency based in Vancouver, Canada supporting the project technically, a United Kingdom based not-for-profit organization, Development Media International has just joined the wagon and started by holding talks with top officials at the WHO office in Yaoundé and the ministry of public health on how to contribute to maternal and infant mortality reduction in Cameroon. The Development Media International delegation was led by Will Snell, the head of public engagement and development. Seven Community Radio Stations in the English Speaking South West Region of Cameroon joined the Community of Learning Programme Wagon during a five-day long story design workshop in Kumba, Meme Division from Tuesday, 15th January to 19th January, 2013. The workshop was organized by Cameroon Link with the technical and financial support of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) at the Women’s Empowerment Centre in K-Town. At the end of the CLP pilot phase in June 2012, mother and child health care remained a major challenge in all regions of Cameroon with mothers and children considered the most vulnerable target groups within communities. Maternal and infant malnutrition is very high and a cause for concern. This explains why Cameroon Link and stakeholders of the initiative are focusing attention on infant and young child feeding, particularly breastfeeding during the radio story design programming process. On the other hand, non-communicable diseases, principally cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancers and chronic respiratory diseases are increasing the burden of health care provision in the urban and rural areas. Mother to Child Transmission of HIV is also complicating the nutrition efforts and there is urgent need for appropriate and adequate health information, education and communication for mothers to make well informed choices on how to feed and care for their children.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

DMI United Kingdom Plans Mass Media Child Survival Campaign In Cameroon

By Cameroon Link, Email: Cameroon Link and the Development Media International (DMI) U K held business profile exchange talks at the Djuega Palace Hotel in Yaoundé on the 20th February, 2013. Cameroon Link was represented by James Achanyi-Fontem, Executive Director, while Will Snell, Head of Public Engagement and Development, led the DMI United Kingdom delegation, accompanied by Lavoie Mathew, Burkina Faso Country Director of DMI and Bassirou Kagone, DMI Broadcast Liaison Manager. Similar meetings took place at the WHO Cameroon office, ministry of public health, UNESCO and Cameroon Radio Television. The purpose of the meetings was aimed at lay the foundation for a mass media child survival campaign in Cameroon to be undertaken BY DMI and other partners. The Commonwealth of Learning connected Cameroon Link to DMI. Executive summary In Cameroon, almost one in eight children dies before the age of five. This number could be reduced using simple interventions and behaviour change. For example, malaria accounts for 16% of under-five deaths, but only 21% of children sleep under insecticide-treated nets. Our campaigns could lead to dramatic increases in the uptake of this and other basic interventions. We can reach 60% of the population through radio messages alone (compared to 43% for television). Our model indicates that a DMI mass media campaign in Cameroon would save 14,000 lives every year. About Development Media International DMI is a social enterprise with non-profit and for-profit arms. It was established in 2005 by Roy Head, who ran the Health Division of the BBC World Service Trust for eight years, running 15 campaigns with 150 staff. DMI's experts have led some of the world's largest and most successful media health campaigns in Africa, Asia, and South America over 30 years. DMI was created to distil this experience into a set of systems to run campaigns much more comprehensively, cost-effectively and sustainably. The team has a proven track record of managing multi-million dollar projects (involving 500 to 8,000 broadcasts) on TV and radio. Funders of previous campaigns include DFID, PMNCH, WHO and USAID. For examples of the impact of previous DMI mass media projects on health behaviours, see Project outline Many barriers to healthy behaviours (e.g. use of ORS/ORT and malaria bed nets) are due to a lack of knowledge and mistaken beliefs. For example, many mothers believe that the colostrum (first milk) is unhealthy, or that the best way to stop diarrhoea is to stop providing the child with food and liquids. In Cameroon, just 15% of infants are exclusively breastfed up to six months. A key barrier is the mistaken belief that breast milk is not enough to meet the nutritional needs of an infant during the first six months. DMI's media campaigns will increase the coverage of key interventions by promoting healthy behaviours and dispelling mistaken beliefs. This will save lives: in Cameroon, 37,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria. Many deaths are due to unhealthy behaviours. DMI has developed a unique statistical model, combining data from the Lancet Child Survival Series and its own evidence base for the impact of behaviour change campaigns. The model predicts how many under-five lives we can save by changing behaviours for particular health issues in each country, enabling us to design campaigns with maximum impact. It predicts that a mass media campaign alone can reduce child mortality in Cameroon by 16%, more cost-effectively than almost any other health intervention (at $6.08 per disability-adjusted life year or DALY). DMI is running a $12m randomised controlled trial in Burkina Faso in partnership with LSHTM, funded by the Wellcome Trust and Planet Wheeler Foundation. This is the largest, most rigorous evaluation ever of a mass media intervention. Our objective is to design and implement a radio and TV child mortality behaviour change campaign in Cameroon, in partnership with the Ministry of Health & Public Hygiene and major radio and television broadcasters. We would develop health messages in collaboration with the Ministry of Health & Public Hygiene, the World Health Organisation and UNICEF. The main broadcast format is 60-second adverts (in local languages), but longer-format interactive shows are also possible. There is also potential to integrate mobile phones into the campaign, for example by encouraging listeners to call in to radio shows, or by partnering with existing Health initiatives (such as helplines. Project deliverable •DMI researches the social attitudes and beliefs of target audiences and identify key barriers to behaviour change. •Produce creative outputs that target those barriers, using international producers and local script-writers. •Broadcast the outputs at scale (e.g. 6-10 radio spots per day) in all major languages, on all key media stations. •Build the capacity of local partners, including broadcasters and (where feasible) Ministries of Health. •Collaborate with national and global public health authorities, including WHO, UNICEF and Ministries of Health. •Evaluate the impact of campaigns using baseline/end line, time-series and dose-response analyses. The DMI approach is to campaign on all key maternal and Child health Issues. Once key staff has been trained, and the infrastructure and relationships established, the marginal costs of conducting additional campaigns are very low. Campaigns can be conducted on a different issue every month for little more than the cost of a single-issue campaign: January: Breastfeeding February: Water and sanitation March: Diarrhoeal diseases April: Giving birth in a health facility May: Malaria prevention and treatment June: Birth spacing and family planning