Cameroon Link has been engaged by Plan International Cameroon to participate in the coordination of the second phase of the Scaling Up of Malaria prevention for impact (SUFI) in the health district of Dibombari in the Littoral region of Cameroon. The collaboration agreement was signed on the 18th December 2013 in Douala during a regional training of Civil Society Organisations (CSO) selected. The representative of the regional coordinator of the Littoral Malaria Unit, M. Bahel Alain, who launched the training, called on the 20 participants of SUFI to follow up the training in a way to relay the key note messages and information collected smoothly while on the field during the execution phase. He announced that the second phase of SUFI will last for two years in December 2015.
Key facilitators during the training were Mrs. Valerie Ahouama Etamba, IRESCO SUFI Project Coordinator, and Mr. Tchana Eric, the Zonal Field Supervisor of IRESCO, who will control and coach CSO throughout the execution phase. He gave the practical modalities and guided the participants to build up the norms and expectations after designating the minutes secretary and time keeper.
Mrs. Valerie Ahouama Etamba, IRESCO SUFI Project Coordinator, spoke about the objectives and awaited results of the training to capacity CSOs on executing phase two of SUFI. The workshop which was basically interactive with the exchange of experiences during the first phase of SUFI Project, led to consensus on how to handle infringements while on the field, after discussing the differences between the two phases. The target groups of current SUFI Project coordinated by IRESCO in the Littoral and South West region are pregnant women and infants below 5 years.
For this reason, a pre-test was conducted to judge the level of knowledge of the participants on malaria generalities, before a lecture on behavior change communication and advocacy. The Zonal Field Supervisor emphasized on the home visits and the technique of identification of the target groups within the homes.
A key role of the SUFI CSO will be to manage the Community Health Workers already selected in all the districts concerned and this will involve monitoring and evaluation at least twice every months.The third day of the training was dedicated to project financial management. The Project Accountant presented all the tools conceived to facilitate management and these tools were tested by the participants to evaluate the level of understanding their content.During the presentations, it was noted that access in some health areas is often difficult, especially during the rainy season when road network become very difficult though the short distances to cover. The funds put at the disposal of CSO are during this period not equivalent to the popular demands of the transporters.Valerie Ahouama Etamba, Project Coordinator, SUFI IRESCO presenting the objectives and outcomes of the workshop covered issues related to the context, general objectives, project structure; program approach; role of actors; rationale of the number of CHWs; criteria for selection of CHWs. She made it known that the general objective was to train the CSO on management of staff and finances of the project.
Mrs. Etamba observed that the Global Fund Round 9 Malaria component coming to the end of Phase I, raised a couple of key challenges in the area of monitoring and evaluation (M&E), financial management and program management/implementation. These gave rise for the need to check and make strategic modifications for the second phase, particularly in the program implementation structure, the target population and the reduction of the number of actors.
SUFI phase 2 program will remain of national coverage and it will be implemented in the 10 regions of Cameroon targeting particularly the vulnerable groups made up of pregnant women and children less than five years. It will be recalled that the title of the Global Fund Round 9-Malaria Project being implemented in Cameroon is “Scaling Up Malaria Control for Impact in Cameroon 2011- 2015” and the goal is to contribute in the reduction of morbidity and mortality attributable to malaria by 50% by the end of 2015.
It is believed that if the actors play their roles well, an increase to at least 80% of the use of LLINs in the entire population and particularly among children under five and pregnant women will be achieved. The activities will raise to at least 80% IPT2 coverage among pregnant women; treatment according to the national malaria guidelines will increase to at least 80% of malaria cases at all levels; while all actors will have reinforced management capacity within the National Malaria Control Program.
The strategies includes acquisition and distribution of LLIN to the general population; making available SP to pregnant women at ANC; purchase and supply of ACTs to health facilities; appropriate BCC (mass media and IPC) to promote adhesion to the various interventions; while monitoring and evaluation will be regular at grassroots.Pregnant women and children less than five years are vulnerable groups found in 52% of households of Cameroon. This means that there are 2,089,647 households representing a population of about 10,866,170 persons by the end of the project to be covered.
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.