Helen Kelley International sponsored a one-week workshop at Framotel Hotel in Kriibi from the 7th – 12 April, 2014 to scale up breastfeeding and evaluate the cost of nutritional interventions in Cameroon. Participants came from the ministry of public health, ministry of agriculture and rural development, UNICEF, HKI and Cameroon Link.
Key presentations covered the promotion of infant and young child feeding, shortages in micronutrients and interventions in Cameroon, Vitamin A supplementation in Cameroon and food fortification in Cameroon. The experts from the ministry of agriculture presented the state of Bio fortification in Cameroon before participants were split into groups for a budgeting exercise of activities which took several days.
Key speakers at the workshop were Martin Nankap of Helen Kelley International, Okala Georges of Health Promotion at the ministry of public health, UNICEF Cameroon and Anatole Ebete of MINADER. The moderator of budget elements and work group orientations was the director for health promotion.
Cameroon Link participated in the behavior change communication group and the issues were related to the promotion on initiation of breastfeeding, infant feeding and complimentary feeding with the promotion of consumption of foods rich in micronutrients. The objective is to attain a 50% rate of infant and young child feeding by the year 2025 including vitamin A.
To examine the scale up budget, participants discussed the list of foods rich in micronutrients region by region in Cameroon with the seasons and conservation possibilities. Data on production, consumption and the different forms were given consideration. The BCC group focused its attention on developing strategies to encourage the promotion of breastmilk consumption and other foods rich in micronutrients in the 10 regions of Cameroon and particularly in Yaoundé and Douala. Costs estimates of activities at central and region levels were examined.
Members of the group developed formative research strategies, communication action plan which includes advocacy, social mobilization and CCC. For greater outreach, it was agreed that communication tools have to be developed and stakeholders’ capacities reinforced.
In the strategic training plan, it was agreed that modules had to be developed and made coherent with communication tools. The training will be planned and organized at various levels starting with the trainer of trainers at the central, region, district and community levels.
Considering that human survival depends on food, health and information, participants suggested the training of development agents, community actors including grandmothers, aunties, men and community relay agents as integral stakeholders of the activities.
Special training would be planned for communicators, especially as breastfeeding promotion would adopt the strategy of hospital, community, radio, television approaches as friends of babies. The work in four groups were restituted and discussed on April 11 before looking at the way forward.
In Cameroon, almost 40% of the population of children under five years old is at risk of vitamin A deficiency (VAD), with rates exceeding 62% in the Northern region. It is estimated that 50,000 children die due to various forms of malnutrition every year in Cameroon.
The national prevalence of anemia among children under five years old is almost 57%, with rates as high as 67% in certain regions. Anemia is also a major contributor to maternal mortality, and anemia rates among pregnant women exceed 52%; 360 pregnant women die each year because they are severely anemic. Onchocerciasis, lymphatic filiariasis, schistosomiasis and intestinal helminthiasis are endemic diseases.
WHAT HKI IS DOING
Helen Keller International has been operating in Cameroon since 1992 and works in all regions of the country with activities concentrated in the Center, the Far-North and the East Regions. Current programs include: Vitamin A Supplementation, Child Survival, Food Fortification, Essential Nutrition Actions, Onchocerciasis Control and Soil-Transmitted Helminth Control
HKI’s work with Vitamin A supplementation (VAS) began in Cameroon in 1998. Between 2003 and 2007, HKI worked to integrate capsule distribution into other interventions, such as CDTI, local immunization days, and routine immunization activities.
Since 2008, national Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition Action Weeks (MCHNAW) have been organized twice yearly to provide high-impact interventions that address child survival and maternal mortality. In June 2009, the MCHNAW included vitamin A supplementation for children 6 to 59 months and women of reproductive age. Other interventions offered included de-worming for preschoolers 12 to 59 months, measles immunization for children 9 to 59 months, polio vaccines for all children under 5, and treatments for pregnant women.
Who is Helen Kelley ?
Helen Kelley, a nationally recognized quiltmaker and writer on quilting, died of a heart attack on Sept. 1 at her home in northeast Minneapolis at the age of 81. Her work was often inspired by family life and her travels, was inducted into the Quilting Hall of Fame.
She grew up in New Haven, Conn., and was skilled at sewing since childhood. She earned a bachelor's degree in theatre from Northwestern University in 1947. She married Bill Kelley and they raised a family, moving to Minnesota in 1962.
Her work has earned several awards. Her quilt modeled after a Norwegian tapestry is owned by the Minnesota Historical Society and was dubbed by quilt experts as one of 100 best of the 20th century. Kelley was the founder and first president of Minnesota Quilters and was part of a group at North Como Presbyterian Church in Roseville that makes quilts for the needy.
The Regional Delegate for Public Health in the Littoral, Dr. Martin Yemba, presided over the first coordination meeting of SUFI in Douala to evaluate the activities of civil society organisations, CSO, engaged in the prevention of malaria on the 10th April, 2014. The meeting took place in the presence of the Littoral Regional Coordinator of malaria prevention, Dr. Nwalls, National Coordinator of IRESCO, Mrs. Valérie Etamba Ahouama, Regional Filed Supervisor, Tchana Eric, and the 12 District SUFI CSO Coordinators engaged in the phase 2 project.
The Regional Field Supervisor, Tchana Eric, took the opportunity to present the required conditions for paying the owed dues of CSO and CBO during the phase 1 of the malaria prevention project. The facilitate understanding, the global amounts owed were presented district after district with the strategy for payment.
Each Civil society organization prepared and presented a calendar of payment schedule which was discussed and approved in plenary. The schedule consisted of sensitization of the owed community based organisations, payment and reporting to the IRESCO, the organization currently piloting activities in the littoral region.
After break, each SUFI District CSO presented activities undertaken with the Q13 action plan which consisted of organizing house hold count of the target groups, mainly pregnant women and child between the ages of 0 – 5 years. This led to the presentation of Q14 action plan from April to June 2014.
National Coordinator of IRESCO, Mrs. Valérie Ahouama, closed the day by handing 12 contracts of Yahama bikes for SUFI community outreach to the district coordinators, which signed and the transport tools were handed to them.
Mrs. Ahouama presented the global situation of malaria prevention included the weaknesses registered during the first phase of SUFI in Cameroon. It would be noted that phase I was undertaken by community based organisations, CBO, and there was reticence in most areas because of the slow process in compensation for work done. This phase consisted of distribution of long lasting impregnated mosquito nets.
Phase II of SUFI modified the target, which are pregnant mothers and children from zero to five years. The current phase will focus on home visits and education of the house hold occupants on the importance of LLIN usage and why malaria should be treated immediately the symptoms have been identified. Community health workers are trained on the exploitation of malaria test kits and prescription of treatment for simple cases. All serious malaria cases are handled at the level of a health facility.
The regional delegate for public health in the littoral, Dr. Martin Yemba, cautioned the SUFI CSO coordinators to handle the different situations in their areas of jurisdictions diligently and report progress timely, so lapses can find solutions early enough.
IRESCO est une organisation non gouvernementale, créée en 1993 par un groupe de chercheurs multidisciplinaires qui partagent un intérêt commun pour la contribution au développement au Cameroun et au-delà. L'organisation a reçu la reconaissance officielle de son statut d'ONG par le gouvernement du Cameroun en 1995. La mission d'IRESCO est la recherche et l'étude dans les secteurs de sciences sociales et du changement comportemental pour favoriser les efforts de développement au Cameroun et dans l'ensemble de l'Afrique. IRESCO recherche à améliorer les efforts de développement en apportant une information et une perspicacité empiriques de sorte que les interventions de développement puissent avoir un impact plus significatif sur la population africaine.
La mission d’IRESCO est d'entreprendre la recherche dans les secteurs des sciences sociales et comportementales pour favoriser les efforts de développement au Cameroun et dans l'ensemble de l'Afrique. IRESCO recherche à améliorer les efforts de développement en apportant une information et une perspicacité empiriques de sorte que les interventions de développement puissent être conçus et mis en application d'une façon plus pertinente et plus efficace pour avoir un impact significatif sur la population africaine.
IRESCO est principalement impliqué dans la recherche pour concevoir et planifier les interventions de santé appropriées pour le Cameroun. Les secteurs stratégiques des interventions d'Iresco tournent autour de la recherche et du IEC bien que la recherche domine la proportion globale de projets. Les activités de recherches incluent l'évaluation de programme et de projet (planification, surveillance, et évaluation), les études quantitatives et qualitatives (études de KAP, enquêtes d'opinion, et études socio-anthropologiques) et la recherche de marché (indicateurs socio-économiques, habitudes de consommation, et l'efficacité des réseaux de distribution).
Les activités du IEC incluent le développement, la production, et la diffusion des matériaux éducatifs et de l'utilisation de la communication en tant que moyen pour favoriser le changement comportemental. Bien que IRESCO fournisse actuellement une assistance à la phase initiale de la formation et la conception du projet, tous les membres du personnel de la direction ont mentionné dans leur interview le désir d'étendre la portée d'IRESCO pour inclure la gestion et la mise en oeuvre de projet basée sur les résultats de leur recherche, c'est à dire, en utilisant leur recherche pour améliorer la conception, la mise en oeuvre, et l'évaluation des projets de développement actuels d'IRESCO sur la terrain.
Le projet de SFPS par la composante de recherche opérationnelle (SFPS/OR) et la composante du IEC (SFPS/IEC) projette de supporter IRESCO dans ses efforts de recherches et initiatives du IEC. La collaboration de l'année passé a contribué à former deux membres du personnel d'IRESCO sur les méthodologies de recherche opérationnelle et à entreprendre deux études.
À l'avenir, SFPS/OR en collaboration avec d'autres associés donateurs pourra assister IRESCO dans le développement d'un plan stratégique de recherche à long terme, le renforcement de la connectivité Internet, et l'évolution du matériel informatique. La composante du IEC de SFPS recherchera à élargir le dossier de recherches d'IRESCO comprenant le développement spécifique de protocole de recherches multi-sites sur l'exposition des médias, l'utilisation de service de santé, la source de référence aux services, et les techniques de mobilisation de la communauté. Ces activités sont une majeure partie de travail continu d'IRESCO et comme telles auront un impact important sur la croissance et le développement de l'organisation.
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.