Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Breastfeeding is a public health issue… Says Prof. Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food

By James Achanyi-Fontem, camlink99@gmail.com
Olivier de Schutter, United Nation special Rapporteur for right to food an made recommendations to governments as to how to improve food security & promote the vital food at all levels, during the World Breastfeeding Conference in Delhi, India from the 6th – 9th December, 2012. Though not present in Delhi, he sent a message from New York and lauded the work of the International Baby Food Action Network Asia that was instrumental in organizing the event. He called on governments to copy the Vietnam good example, where on the 18th June 2012, the National Assembly approved the extension of paid maternity leave from 4 months to 6 months. On 24th June, it voted to ban the advertising of Breast Milk Substitutes for infants from 6 to 24 months, aligning the country more closely with the 1981 International Code on Breastmilk Substitutes on the marketing of breastmilk substitute and subsequent World Health Assembly resolutions. Prof. Olivier De Schutter added that, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and continued breastfeeding until the second birthday of the child, is very important for governments to move beyond promotional campaigns and education. Promotional Campaigns and education are extremely important, that they are necessary and useful. Education about nutrition and the benefits of breastfeeding in schools should be supported, while the media should be sending the right messages to communities.
He regretted that there is relatively a low number of countries that are serious about the enforcing the International Code on the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitute. In his words, the count made by World Health Organization in December 2011, shows that out of a total of 165 states 103 states had some regulatory measure in place, 37 States relied only on the voluntary commitments of the infant formula manufacturers and 25 States had taken no action. More worrying is the fact that out of the 103 States which adopted legislative instruments in order to implement the International Code on the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitute, only a bit less than 50% of the countries have provisions on enforcement and only 37 States has the World Health Organization considered serious enforcement of these provisions. With this, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food said, governments should ensure that the mothers are given the right message and that the efforts of government to promote breastfeeding are not nullified and made fruitless by the selling of infant formula by the manufacturers.
The International Code of 1981 is absolutely vital but it is not enough and governments must also ensure that the employers facilitate breastfeeding, by having childcare facilities in the work place. Maternity leaves allow women not to have to choose between remaining in employment and providing adequate breastfeeding to the child, he emphasised. This should also be true for public work programmes because the important part of social protection measures is often forgotten in developing countries. Another phase for action for supporting breastfeeding is by strengthening women’s rights and women’s education. There was a very impressive study published in 2000 by Smith & Haddad showing that based on a cross country study, covering 25 years from 1970 to 1995 Smith & Haddad showed that 43% of the reduction of hunger in developing countries during those 25 years were attributable to improved women’s education. This is almost as much as the increase in food availability which stands at 26% and the improvements in health services at 19% together. Infact if we 12% of the improvements to the reduction of hunger and malnutrition during this period attributable to better life expectations for women, the conclusion is that 55% of the gains against hunger, malnutrition during this period were attributable to women’s education or a longer life expectancy for women.
This leads us to recognize the importance of adequate care of the children during the first few years of life in order to have adequate nutritional and health outcomes. UNICEF in particular has proven and demonstrated that food intake alone would not ensure adequate health & nutritional outcomes if not combined with adequate care, if not combined with adequate access to water, sanitation services and health services, All these together ensures that young children develop well physically and mentally and that the mortality of the children under five is reduced. Better education for girls and women is absolutely vital to achieve this. Today, better education for women and girls means more economic opportunities and more chances of employment outside the household. The income effects are such that the child ultimately benefits & women that are more economically active and more economically independent can make better use of their time and make the right choices, for example, to visit health facilities and to have the child adequately taken care of. To promote breastfeeding better and more effectively, we must build on breastfeeding as a human right both for the women and for the infant. This imposes certain obligations on governments particularly to adapt the world of employment to the need to support breastfeeding and to seriously implement the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes In support of the UN vision, the President of India, His Excellency, Shri Pranah Mukherjee send a congratulatory message to the organizers of the World Breastfeeding Conference. Considering that New delhi was honoured as host, he extended wishes of success during the deliberations. Mrs. Sheila Dikshit, the Chirf Minister of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, on her part said, that the Global Breastfeeding Initiative for Child Survival, GBIGS, organizing the World Breastfeeding Conference, WBC, under the theme “Babies need mom-made, Not man-made” was very relevant, especially as over 1.000 delegates from all regions of the world were in Delhi to contribute and exchange their experiences. Chief Minister of Gujrat, Narendra Modi. On his part said, while India is fighting malnutrition, the age=old tradition of breastfeeding is a blessing in disguise. Breastfeeding the very natural source of nutrition for nw born provides anti-bodies which help to establish the baby’s immune system. It also provides digestive nutrients essential for healthy growth.
Some 800 experts from 84 countries arrived India to support the initiative of the International Baby Food Action Network, IBFAN and the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, WABA. It was an opportunity to pledge support for every breastfeeding mother in the world. Minister Omar Abdullah, Minister of Jammu and Kashmir said, the nature of the theme is welcome and timely. He observed that the nature of the family is changing and the change is impacting the relationship between the mother and the child with breastfeeding as an important structural element. He aaded that feeding the baby through any other method different from the breast is artificial. Artificial feeding impacts on the baby negatively health-wise, physically and psychologically. Minister Oomen Chandy of Kerala, added his voice by saying that the dawn of modern day health care remedies and life style has influenced artificial feeding to suppress breastfeeding. With this situation, we have to highlight the nutritious and healthy nature of mother’s milk. Breastmilk substitutes trigger impairment in children and we should fight against it. The world breastfeeding conference aimed at popularizing the significance of infant feeding globally. H.E. Manohar Parrikar of Goa called on participants to take up issues related to policy gaps if change has to be achieved in the struggle for child survival and especially to support women to improve on child health and nutrition. India has a ministry for health and family welfare and another ministry for women and child development. For more information, click on the following web pages – http://uk.youtube.com/camlink99/ - http://camlinknews.blogspot.com/2012/12/breastfeeding-gets-into-worldwide_5124.html

Breastfeeding Gets Into Worldwide Development Agenda

By James Achanyi-Fontem, Email: camlink99@gmail.com
The World Breastfeeding Conference 2012 theme, “ Babies Need Mom Made Not Man Made” was echoed in over 100 presentations in three busy working days by facilitators and over 800 participants from 84 countries. This articles points out some of the strong statements by presenters. Dr. Arun Gupta highlighted the advantages of breastmilk in a paper, saying that junk food cause girls to hit puberty at the age of 6 years, bananas may soon become a critical food sources for millions of people and replace potatoes as a staple diet due to climate change according to recent research. Healthy diet can prevent second heart attack because this has been seen as powerful as pills and healthy life is what mothers and their babies deserve. Breastfeeding can save 22% of new born babies, especially as the first 1.000 days shape the health life of the baby.
Prof. Anwar Fazal had presented the past icons of breastfeeding promotion and what they all left behind as a memorial legacy. Dr. Nicholas Alipui, the UNICEF Director of Programmes in New York presented a paper which revealed that breastfeeding is on the development agenda worldwide, as he highlighted the successes, challenges and way forward. Dr. Alipui said, what is hampering progress is the lack of a common agenda with a shared vision of change and the orphan issue is not grounded in a cohesive advocacy with the communities. The industries act as counter forces. The bottle neck at programme level is the under-estimation and inadequate recognition of impact, the absence of effective, comprehensive approaches at scale, interventions are not optimally implemented, slow and not tangible behaviour change, while HIV and infant feeding makes issues more complex and confusing.
Some of the opportunities are the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) action with focus on a promise renewed, quality of education/learning link to Nutrition, early Childhood Development, greater focus on gender equality and support to national movements for the expansion of health campaigns to involve community workers. UNICEF has produced a good number of IYCF tool and reviews to facilitate achievement of goals within communities and health facilities. Another strong intervention was made on how to enhance breastfeeding rates globally by Dr F. Branca, Director of Nutrition for health development department at the World Health Organisation head quarters.
It was made known that on the 26th May 2012 at the WHA, Member States committed to tackle global nutrition challenges. The six nutrition targets agreed on include reduction of childhood stunting by 40%, reduction of anemia in women of reproductive age by 50%, reduction of Low Birth Weight by 30%, 0% increase in childhood overweight, increase exclusive breastfeeding rates in the first 6 months up to 50% and reduction and maintaining childhood wasting to less than 5% The actions recommended include: ACTION 1: To create a supportive environment for the implementation of comprehensive food and nutrition policies ACTION 2: To include all required effective health interventions with an impact on nutrition in plans for scaling up ACTION 3: To stimulate the implementation of non health interventions with an impact on nutrition ACTION 4: To provide adequate human and financial resources for the implementation of health interventions with an impact on nutrition ACTION 5: To monitor and evaluate the implementation of policies and programmes The factors for successful breastfeeding promotion include: 1. implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes 2. Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) 3. Advocacy, training and education of health professionals 4. Community-based promotion and support 5. Maternity legislation and workplace support Participants at the World Breastfeeding Conference in New Delhi, India were reminded of the Innocenti Declaration and countries that have not already accomplished the following, should plan to: 1. a national BF coordinator and establish a multisectoral national BF committee. 2. Ensure that every facility providing maternity services fully practice all the “Ten steps to successful BF”. 3. Give effect to the principles and aim of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent relevant World Health Assembly resolutions (Code). 4. Enact imaginative legislation to protect the BF rights of working women. 5. Develop, implement, monitor and evaluate a comprehensive policy on infant and young child feeding. 6. Ensure that the health and other relevant sectors protect, promote and support EBF for six months and continued BF up to two years of age or beyond. 7. Promote timely, adequate, safe and appropriate complementary feeding with continued BF. 8. Provide guidance on feeding infants and young children in exceptionally difficult circumstances. 9. Consider new legislation or other measures to give effect to the principles and aim of the Code.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

PCF7 Holds In Abuja, Nigeria from 2 - 6 December, 2013

Courtesy of COL Monthly Bulletin
COL's Seventh Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF7) holds in Abuja, Nigeria from 2 - 6 December 2013. It will be co-hosted by the Federal Ministry of Education and the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) is the lead partner institution. The theme of PCF7 is "Open Learning for Development: Towards Empowerment and Transformation" and sub-themes announced include: Girls' and Women's Education, Skills Development, Promoting OER, Innovation and Technology, with Institutional Development Established in 1988, the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) was inspired by the vision that the peoples of the Commonwealth must and can have access to knowledge, regardless of where they live and whether they are rich or poor. Member governments have given COL a mandate to encourage the development and sharing of open and distance learning knowledge, materials, expertise, technologies and other resources. Working with, and providing services to hundreds of institutions throughout the 54-member Commonwealth, COL is helping to increase the capacities of developing nations to meet the demands for improving access to quality education and training. COL's Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning is held biennially. It is co-hosted with different partners in different regions of the Commonwealth each time. The five-day programme is designed to explore applications of open and distance learning in widening educational access, bridging the digital divide and advancing the social and economic development of communities and nations at large. The Forum's focus is on topics relating to developing countries and participation of practitioners from these countries. COL's Excellence in Distance Education Awards are also presented at the Forum. The Sixth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF6) took place from 24 - 28 November 2010 at Le Méridien Cochin Resort & Convention Centre (Kochi, Kerala), India, in partnership with India's Indira Gandhi National Open University. Theme: "Access & Success in Learning: Global Development Perspectives." The Fifth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF5) was held in London, from 13-17 July 2008, hosted in collaboration with the University of London. Over 700 educators from more than 70 countries explored how open and distance learning can help achieve international development goals and education for all. The Commonwealth of Learning held the First Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning in Brunei Darussalam, followed by the Second Forum in 2002 in Durban, South Africa. The Third Pan-Commonwealth Forum was held 4-8 July 2004 in Dunedin, New Zealand, and PCF4 was held in Ocho Rios, Jamaica from 30 October - 3 November 2006. For more information, visit the following link - http://www.col.org

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cameroon Breastfeeding Trends 2012 Reassessed

By Camlink News, Email: camlink99@gmail.com
IBFAN Africa and Cameroon Link have conducted a three-day workshop from 24-28 October 2012, to orient the government of Cameroon on how to conduct periodic monitoring and evaluation of infant and young child feeding practices, policies and programmes using a simple to use World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi) tool. The workshop was held at Hotel du Rail Bonaberi-Douala for 16 participants who came from the government, Civil Society Organisations (CSO), Infant Feeding advocacy groups. Being gender sensitive, training and the breastfeeding trends reassessment included men, women and youth group representatives. The workshop was facilitated by the Regional Coordinator of IBFAN Africa, Mrs. Joyce Chanetsa, and the Coordinator of IBFAN Cameroon Link Group, James Achanyi-Fontem, who triples as the National President of the Federation of Cameroon Breastfeeding Promotion Associations (FECABPA) and Liaison person of COL Cameroon Link Partnership and Men’s Initiative coordinator.
The objectives of the workshop were to sensitize participants on the Global strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding and how it is linked to the WBTi tool; to impart knowledge and skills on the application of the WBTi tool for monitoring and evaluation as well as for advocacy and action to improve infant and young child feeding; to discuss unique national situations as regards the tool; Identify sources of representative local data and methods of its gathering them. This led to the development of an action plan from the reassessment. According to the regional coordinator of IBFAN Africa, the workshop achieved its objectives and beyond as it was able to conduct a rough score of Cameroon (95.5/150 or 63.6 %) achievement on implementation of the Global Strategy of Infant and Young Child Feeding (GSIYCF). The team came up with a concrete plan to utilize the draft assessment results to advocate for further action using the community radio stations, national TV channels, newspaper publications and internet web sites and blog. The Regional Coordinator of IBFAN Africa appeared on national CRTV after meetings held in Yaounde, capital of Cameroon. During the meetings with top level officials and decision makers, Mrs. Chanetsa made calls for further action on the issue and invited Cameroon to participate in the World Breastfeeding Conference scheduled in New Delhi, India from the 6th – 9th December, 2012. Cameroon achievements on implementation of Global Strategy 1. Excellent initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of birth (95.6%). 2. Cameroon has a national Code on the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, even though it is not enforced and it has no sanctions. 3. Many health facilities in Cameroon practice kangaroo care to provide care to low birth weight or pre-term infants. 4. Community based support by mother support groups is fairly good, except that there is lack of optimal and correct information for mothers and community workers. 6. The World breastfeeding Week is celebrated nationally annually. Identified major gaps 1. Too early introduction of other foods and water (26.2%) and too late introduction of appropriate complementary foods (20%). 2. Lack of a National Coordinator for infant and young child feeding in the Ministry of Public Health and a national coordinating committee supported by the Ministry of Public Health and fully responsible for IYCF. 3. The National Code of Marketing is not translated into English so that all can understand and it lacks sanctions. 4. Information, education and communication efforts are only reaching 58% of the population. 5. High bottle feeding practices for infant 0-6 months (26%) 6. No efforts are made to implement BFHI in health facilities. 7. No awareness of infant feeding in emergencies. 8. On Maternity protection, not all provisions of the ILO 183 Convention are addressed and there is no protection of agricultural workers and those in the informal sector. 9. There is need to know more about what is happening to mothers who are HIV positive in terms of infant feeding. Opportunities 1. Cameroon has over 75 community radio stations that are not fully utilized by the government to disseminate information on infant and young child feeding education. 2. Cameroon boasts of having a good national Federation of Cameroon Breastfeeding Promotion Associations, FECABPA; it is host of the Men’s Initiative of the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, (WABA). 3. Good relationships between Cameroon Link, IBFAN Africa, Commonwealth of Learning and the Government. 4. The government was fully supportive of the WBTi workshop and the gathering of preliminary data. Key recommendations made to the government and local partners 1. Appoint a national Coordinator for infant and young child feeding who is in a senior position and create a national committee answerable to the Ministry of Public Health. 2. The government should have a budget for implementing infant and young child feeding programme. 3. The government should translate the national Code into English so that all can benefit and it should revise the Code so that it includes sanctions. 4. The government, WHO and UNICEF to initiate urgent opportunities to train health workers on BFHI and implement the BFHI in health facilities and communities. 5. The government needs to integrate guidelines on infant feeding in emergencies within the nutrition policy. 5. The Government with the support of WHO and UNICEF to improve monitoring and evaluation of IYCF indicators within existing systems. Official opening of WBTi Re-assessment In the welcome address, the national coordinator of IBFAN Cameoon Goup, James Achanyi-Fontem said, Cameroon is honored to have another opportunity for an orientation and reassessment training workshop on the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi). He thanked Mrs. Joyce Chanetsa, the Regional Coordinator of IBFAN Africa who included Cameroon on the list of countries to benefit from the training and reassessment on the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi). He recalled that Cameroon undertook the first assessment in November 2009.
He thanked the government through the ministry of public health for allowing the reassessment to happen and to the patronage it. He acknowledged that since the first assessment, many changes have taken place though the influence and guidance of the Minister of Public Health. The secondary data was reached for preparation of this re-assessment using WHO/UNICEF data and information system for analyzing the 15 key indicators of Cameroon’s trends so far documented. The data used during the WBTi training and reassessment in Cameroon are based on information collected from the Demographic Health Survey (DHS) in Cameroon, statistics from the Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Planning, Programming and Territorial Development, WHO, UNICEF and ILO sources in Yaoundé, capital of Cameroon. The department for health promotion in the ministry of public health contributed through researched data as the policy and decision making channel within the frame work of its collaboration with Cameroon Link, FECABPA and IBFAN Cameroon Group that reports regularly on all its activities. He concluded by saying, since the government is working on putting in place a national nutrition programme, the opportunity of the training and re-assessment was used to advise the Cameroon government, on the key areas of budgeting for achieving successful breastfeeding in a country. He explained that in most countries of the world, a national budget for breastfeeding promotion activities is broken down to cover the following key expenditure lines: • budget for training in IYCF counselling, • budget for Code implementation and protection of breastfeeding • budget for promoting maternity benefits, • budget for policy development of breastfeeding/IYCF promotion, • budget for developing and promotion of legislation on the Code, • budget for promotion of the setting up of good crèche systems, • and a budget for annual operating costs of the nutrition programme. 8 If the government improves on its policy by taking decisions to make the necessary resources available, breastfeeding rates will increase from the current 20% to 65% by the year 2015, he concluded. It was highlighted that UNICEF is working with communities and the government to increase access to sanitation from 33 per cent to over 60 per cent by 2015. During the training, paticipants had the opportunity to listen to Mrs. Tamfu Hanson Ghandhi, a Cameroonian UN volunteer on emergencies, who had the opportunity to serve in Rwanda. He addressed the unpreparedness situation of Cameroon in handling emergency situations in flood regions and where there has been an influx of refugees in the north and east regions of Cameroon. Tamfu Hanson Ghandhi observed that the influx of refugees create silent emergency in some parts of Cameroon apart from the natural disasters, which have become more and more regular. The participants agreed that additional challenges facing refugee children in Cameroon include the lack of birth registration as well as an increase in child sexual exploitation, early marriages and early pregnancies. IBFAN Cameroon National Coordinator, James Achanyi-Fontem made a call for aid to Cameroon saying, “unless the Cameroonian Government and host communities receive the support they need to develop long-term solutions, the silent emergencies will continue to grow. The Regional Coodinator, Mrs. Chanetsa emphasized the fact that over 2.000.000 child deaths is recorded each year due to poor infant feeding practices, and the strategy ensues that mothers feed their babies properly. She explained how the Innocenti Declaration came about with its objective in 2003 and was revised in 2005. The Innocenti Declaration was actually to show young mothers how to breastfeed rightly. It was within the frame work of the declaration that Cameroon came out in December 2005 with an act of the national code for regulating the marketing of breastmilk substitutes throughout the territory. It was observed that the breastfeeding mothers are not protected after delivering their babies, most especially working mothers. The addition targets aim to remedy some of the IYCF lapses in a way to promote timely, adequate, safe and appropriate complementary feeding with continued breastfeeding by providing guidance on IYCF. The head of the health plannification service at the regional delegation for public health in the littoral, Mr. Ekoum Joseph (MPH), officially opened the workshop with an acknowledgement to IBFAN Africa and the Commonwealth of Learn9ng for their support and efforts towards improvement of Infant and Young Child Feeding, IYCF, through community education strategies. He thanked Mrs. Joyce Chanetsa, the regional coordinator of IBFAN Africa for including Cameroon on the list of countries that have benefited from the training and reassessment in the Africa region. In a record card briefing, comments and recommendations were made as follows: Overall Comments: Cameroon has moved from 79,5% to 95,5% showing slight progress. The red and yellow colour rated areas should be seen as priority for government and stakeholders to act on urgently. Overall Recommendations The assessors encouraged the government to enforce the legislation already put in place. The government decisions should ensure that business is done within the respect of laws put in place, as tools for the protection of the mothers and their babies. The participants strongly recommend that the government should prioritize the following programme areas: Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), Infant feeding during emergencies, Ensure that the median duration of breastfeeding is increased in the community and that bottle feeding should be strongly discouraged. Government is encouraged to develop an infant and young feeding policy and put in place the necessary structure for implementation.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cameroon Link Installs WOCOTOMADI in Cameroon

Cameroon Link had the priviledge to chair the installation cermony of the Cameroon agency of the International Humanitarian NGO, Coming Together To Make A Difference (WOCOTOMADI) recently in Yaounde, capital of Cameroon. Cameroon Link was identified as the premium humanitarian and not-for-profit NGO with the longest experience and impact working with underpriviledged communicties in Cameroon for over 20 years.During the installation ceremony, he made a call for good will countires and individual to extend a hand to the needy in Cameroon.
The speech delivered by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cameroon Link in his capacity as the President of the Board of Directors of WOCOTOMADI, is shared with you on this page. To start, he said in his own words that, "It is a singular pleasure for me to be here in Yaounde as the Chairman of WOCOTOMADI Cameroon, to preside over the installation of the national executive bureau of WOCOTOMADI. He added that it should not be a surprise to many and this gave him the opportunity to introduce his person and past activities. "I am James Achanyi-Fontem, who coordinates a number of non governmental organizations and civil society organizations like WOCOTOMADI in Cameroon, which has head quarters in Bedford. Massachusetts, United States of America. The head quarters of Cameroon is in Grand Hangar-Bonaberi in a neighbourhood of Douala City. I am the Executive Director of Cameroon Link Human Assistance Programme,that triples as National President of the Federation of Cameroon Breastfeeding Promotion Associations, FECABPA, Liaison person of the Commonwealth of Learning Cameroon Link partnership, Focal Point of National Coordinator of the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN Cameoon Group) and International Coordinator of the Men’s Initiative of the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, WABA.
From the above, you will understand that the activities of Cameroon Link are purely humanitarian and similar to those of WOCOTOMADI, which is a non-profit making and charitable organization registered in the USA only in July 2011 in Massachusetts, Unites States of America. According to the activity sheet already presented, WOCOTOMADI is assisting the most vulnerable populations of Cameroon to improve on their well being, living standard, attainment of education and perfect health. - WOCOTOMADI works for the prevention of poverty, hunger and diseases, - WOCOTOMADI promotes education for all - WOCOTOMADI promotes gender equality, better conditions of Women, old peresons. That is what Cameroon Link does and for several years, Ms. Julienne SIWE Ngongang, the founding president of WOCOTOMADI, has continued to devote most of her time thinking about the opportunity to show case her esteem for the marginalized. The primary mission of your organization is to help the vulnerable and fight against extreme poverty without moving away from the major concern of governments and international organizations to contribute to the education of all around the world , extension of the New Information and Communication Technology. Agriculture which is the cornerstone of the third world economy, is promoted as a means to fight against hunger through viable action plans and research developed with other international organizations like the UNDP, WHO, and the FAO.
From the above, it is clear that the World Coming Together to Make a Difference, resulted from much thought when it started to realize that sustainable development cannot be achieved without the fight against extreme global poverty, promotion of health for all, education of all, the promotion of the use of ICT at all levels to improve exchange of information internationally, and also to create an atmosphere of love, harmony and solidarity among peoples around the world. The World Coming Together to Make a Difference is already wll implanted in Haiti, Benin, Senegal, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Portugal and the United States of America. The installation of the national bureau will open the doors for collaboration with the groups in others countries. With the support of support of partners the Cameroon branch will be aiming at achieving activities that target the objectives of the UN Millennium Development Goals to: 1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; 2. Achieve universal primary education for all; 3. Promote gender equality and empower women; 4. Reduce child mortality; 5. Improve maternal health; 6. Combat HIV / AIDS, malaria and other diseases; 7. Ensure environmental sustainability; 8. Development of global partnership for development With this, Iwould like to use the powers vested in me by the chairman to install the National Executive Bureau of WOCOTOMADI Cameroon. Those installed today, the 7th October 2012 are the following: National President : Louis Pierre WESE Vice President: Gweth Ngwend Mabo Secretary General: Nyobe Emma Odette Assistant Secretary: Rose Mary Ngassa National Treasurer: Ndengue Pierre Assistant Treasurer: Augustine Njioya Auditor: Ottou Melkissedek Plannification and Development head: Djeumo Dieudonne Health and Community Action head: Mrs. Tepou Zang Animation and social mobilization: Timothee ZOGO Accounting Logistics head: Etoa Maguerite Communication Coordinator: Francois Bikoro Public Relations: Elisabeth Noubia
This statement will be communicated to the international bureau of WOCOTOMADI in the USA for documentation and information of the network members in other countries. WOCOTOMADI, PO Box 5035 New Bedford, MA 02742 USA Tel:781-249-6061 Fax: 508-297-3614 Email: contact@wocotomadi.org Long Live WOCOTOMADI, Long Live Cameroon After the installation of the the3 board of directors, the president was advised to start the admistrative procedure for authoritisation of existence since the Cameroon law oit is within the legal frame of national active organisations that there would be mutual and fruitful exchanges with other WOCOTOMADI branches around the world. For the expansion of the humanitarin work in Cameroon, make a donation and contact us to make a difference.Send your donation or contribution and email us at: camlink99@gmail.com or jafontem@yahoo.com for it to be highlighted in the records and publications. Remember that,"For everything we give we receive a hundred fold".

Sunday, October 7, 2012

WOCOTOMADI Déjà Au Cameroun!

By Helen Ayamba, camlink News Email: helenayamba@yahoo.com
Le bureau national de l’ONG International «World Coming Together To Make A Difference (WOCOTOMADI Cameroun)» est déjà installé à Yaoundé. La cérémonie d’installation était présidée par Monsieur James Achanyi-Fontem, Liaison de Commonwealth of Learning Cameroon Link Partnership pendant la cérémonie de mise en place officielle des membres du bureau national du Cameroun à la salle des fêtes du Parc Kyriakides. Avant l’installation, il y a eu des prières œcuménique par le Pasteur et I’ Iman avec la lecture du récépissé de l’événement par la Secrétaire Générale, Mme Nyobe Odette en présence des délégués qui sont venus des chefs lieu de dix régions du Cameroun.
Il y a eu des spectacles, témoignage et vente de pagnes de l’ONG. Lisez le discours présenté pendant la cérémonie. Allocution de Monsieur le President du Conseil d’Administration de World Coming Together To Make A Difference (WOCOTOMADI Cameroon),James Achanyi-Fontem, à Yaoundé le 6 Octobre 2012. Il est le Liaison de Commonwealth of Learning Cameroon Link Partnership. Il a declaré: Mesdames et Messieurs, L'honneur me revient de prendre la parole en cette circonstance solennelle, au nom du Président du Conseil d' Administration, a I' occasion de la cérémonie marquant la mise en place officielle des membres du bureau nation de la WORLD COMING TOGETHER TO MAKE A DIFERENCE en abrégé WOCOTOMADI Cameroon. Je tiens tout d'abord à adresser mes sincères remerciements à toutes les Autorités Administratives qui, malgré leurs emplois du temps très surcharges, ont tenu à répondre massivement présent a cette cérémonie. Mes remerciements vont également à l’ endroit des Autorités Religieuses et Traditionnelles dont la présence dénote de l'intérêt qu'ils accordent aux actions de bien-être social. A Toute l'équipe cuminique ici présente et les autorités traditionnelles, recevez nos vifs remerciements; J’adresse aussi ma profonde gratitude à tous ici présents, et a tous ceux qui ont de près ou de loin contribués à l’organisation, la réalisation et la réussite de cet évènement. Vous tous, venus massivement rehausser l'éclat de cette cérémonie, recevez à travers ma voix, les sincères remerciements de WOCOTOMADI. Enfin je ne saurais oublier le promoteur du Parc Kyriakides pour ce beau cadre mis à la disposition de WOCOTOMADI. En effet, WOCOTOMADI, WORLD COMING TOGETHER TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE, est une ONG internationale dont le siège se trouve a Boston au Etats Unis d' Amérique ayant à sa tête une fondatrice de nationalité Camerounaise, Julienn Siwe Ngongang. Cette ONG a pour but d’apporter sa contribution a tous les pays d'Afrique et au Cameroun en particulier, dans la lutte contre la pauvreté, la recherche du bien-être social et économique des populations. Au Cameroun l'ONG s'est installée seulement depuis deux ans. Elle est représentée dans plusieurs pays d'Europe, d’Asie, d'Amérique et d'Afrique. Sur le plan de ses objectifs spécifiques, I'ONG a mené depuis son existence des activités au niveau international et au niveau national.
Au niveau international Elle a beaucoup plus œuvré dans le volontariat et le bénévolat en menant des actions sociales et de bienfaisance en direction des personnes démunies, des personnes âgées, de filles mères et des enfants en détresse recensés dans plusieurs localités du monde. Ces actions humanitaires lui ont permis de sceller des partenariats durables avec certaines entreprises américaines et organisations de produits alimentaires, laitiers, sanitaires et vestimentaires pour la collecte des dons. Dans le domaine social-culturel, l'ONG s'arrime a toutes les actions en faveur des personnes affectées ou en détresse morale. Au niveau du Cameroun
WOCOTOMADI a tenu une conférence de presse pour édifier les populations sur ses objectifs ; • Organisé des visites d'échanges et de partage d'expériences avec plusieurs ONG et associations ayant les mêmes objectifs en vue d'un partenariat ; • Scelle un point focal avec la Délégation d' Arrondissement de la Promotion de la Femme et de la Famille de Yaoundé pour lui permettre de se joindre en appui aux actions gouvernementales. • A pris part à toutes les célébrations des journées commémoratives. A cet effet elle a pu encadrer les femmes rurales d'OLEMBE II • A initié 200 personnes à l’utilisation de l’informatique pour la réalisation des projets de développement. • A organisé des ateliers d'AGR en zone rurale Le plan d'action 2013 prévoit l'organisation de plusieurs autres activités et I' Agenda de l'ONG présente un répertoire grandement ambitieux pour le bien-être des populations Camerounaises. II s'agira pour WOCOTOMADI et à travers ses antennes dans les dix (10) régions du Cameroun, de mener des actions de proximité, de mettre en application ses objectifs et programmes des projets sociaux, basés sur la vie quotidienne des populations et notamment:
1. L'organisation du programme de la traditionnelle fête américaine, Thanks Giving Day, qui réunira en novembre 2012 a Yaoundé autour de WOCOTOMADI, un panel des femmes rurales choisies a travers les dix régions du Cameroun pour constituera un socle indélébile entre WOCOTOMADI et les bénéficiaires. 2. La pose de la première pierre pour la case des personnes âgées démunies et abandonnées sans assistance. 3. La création d'un centre de vulgarisation des vaccins pour les enfants et l'encadrement des orphelins sans soins et sans suivis médicaux. 4. La création d'un bureau des échanges commerciaux et d'interaction communautaires entre les structures sociales WOCOTOMADI et le reste de la couche sociale. Déjà des le 15 octobre prochain WOCOTOMADI sera de tout cœur avec les femmes rurales a Ekombitie, Messa-si dans le cadre de la célébration de la 17ieme édition de la Journée Mondiale de la Femme Rurale. C'est donc pour permettre à cette ONG d'évoluer en toute sérénité, que le Conseil d'Administration a trouvé nécessaire que la structure Nationale dont le dynamisme n'est plus à démontrer, soit davantage encouragée et motivée par sa mise en place officielle.
A cet egard, je me tourne vers vous, membres de cette structure Nationale, je suis l’heureux d'apprécier en si peu de temps les résultats admirables de votre détermination a hisser haut l'étendard de l'ONG, à travers cette stratégie de partenariat actif que vous avez adoptée. La dimension grandiose de ses objectifs en cours de réalisation, mérite le soutien actif et stimulant de toute la communauté nationale et internationale. Ensemble contribuons a la vision noble de cet ONG. A ce titre, mesdames et messieurs les membres du bureau exécutif national du Cameroun, tout en vous exprimant les encouragements les plus exaltants, ayant longtemps œuvré dans l'ombre, aujourd'hui, officiellement reconnus, chacun dans sa fonction respective : Président : Monsieur WEZE Pierre Vice-Présidente: Madame NGWEND MABO Felicite Secretaire general : Madame NYOBE Emma Odette Secretaire adjoint: Mrs NGASSA Mary Trésorier : Monsieur NDENGUE Pierre Trésorier adjoint : Mme NJIOY A Augustine Commissaire aux comptes : Monsieur OTTOU Melkissedek Chef de la cellule des études, planification et développement des projets: Monsieur DJEUMO Dieudonné Chef de la cellule santé et action humanitaire: Madame TEPOU Rosalie Chef de la cellule de la formation, de I ‘animation et de la vulgarisation: Monsieur ZOGO Timothée Chef de la cellule de la comptabilité des opérations et des achats: Madame ETOA Marguerite Chef de la cellule de la communication: Monsieur François Bikoro Charge des relations publiques : Madame NOUDJA Elisabeth Bureau National WOCOTOMADI Cameroun soyez les dignes ambassadeurs de la promotion du bien-être des populations. A toutes et tous ici présents, je vous souhaite un bon séjour dans cette somptueuse salle de fêtes du parc Kyriakides. Merci pour votre aimable attention. Profile of James Achanyi-Fontem
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.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cameroon Link Organizes Freedom Fone & GRINS Information Workshop

Ojong Helen Ayamba, Cameroon Link Email: helenayamba@yahoo.com
Ten ICT technicians from various business institutions including the customs, telecommunications, environmental protection, computer maintenance, sales companies and communication houses took part in a one day information sharing and exchange workshop at Cameroon Link last Saturday, September 15, 2012 on the use and applications of Freedom Fone and GRINS soft wares. The key facilitator was Mike Achanyi trained by Farm Radio International in Arusha, Tanzania during a capacity building workshop as the Freedom Fone and GRINS ICT Consultant for Cameroon. Opening the workshop, the Executive Director of Cameroon Link, James Achanyi-Fontem, expressed thanks and gratitude to Farm Radio International and its partners, who made the training possible for Cameroon and acknowledged the excellent partnership relations that have existed for over 30 years today.
The CEO added that it is difficult to quantify the knowledge and benefits gained throughout the number of years Cameroon Link has been in partnership with Farm Radio and that it is through the same non-profit making international organization based in Ottawa, Canada that the Commonwealth of Learning identified Cameroon as an emerging developing country for expanding its policy of “Learning for Development”. He lauded the Cameroon ICT technicians for taking time off their busy schedules to participate in the one-day training, which he described as innovative for the work they are accomplishing in their different organizations. He called on them to be attentive and ask questions on all identified issues related to the Freedom Fone and GRINS, which are new soft ware applications in Cameroon. Cameroon is one out of ten African countries already deploying the soft wares and that the only source to get them in Cameroon remains Cameroon Link for now. He concluded by informing them that they were privileged to be the first batch of Cameroon ICT technicians receiving first-hand information on the communication tools adapted to situations in developing countries, where resources are limited. During the training which was delivered in two parts, theoretical and practical, Mike Achanyi started by express thanks to the facilitators who trained them in Arusha, Tanzania with open hearts. He said, it was with the same spirit that he wanted to share new ICT communication development skills he learnt with them. Mike acknowledged that from the beginning, he felt everything was going to be difficult because the new knowledge looked strange. But as time went on, he learnt that it was just another innovative way of doing things, with more simplified tools for reaching many at the same time, if applied in community radio stations in Cameroon.
He introduced the Freedom Fone Project by saying Freedom Fone was conceived by Kubatana Trust of Zimbabwe in 2001, Their aim was to seek alternative ways to inform and engage civil society in development issues to inspire positive social change by sharing information and ideas via Internet, email, mobile phones and print publications. Like in Zimbabwe, Mike Achanyi went on to say freedoms of association and expression are regularly repressed, in the years political and economic struggles have created a need to engage with audiences situated on the margins of the information society. By taking advantage of both text and voice functions, Freedom Fone provides a means to reach communities that do not have access to other media and remain under-heard because of literacy and language barriers. While internet in Cameroon is becoming more accessible, it is still available only to a minority urban-based audience. Mobile phone usage on the other hand is growing exponentially with over 50% of the population - including many who live out in remote rural areas – currently subscribed to mobile networks. It is for this reason that Freedom Fone has proved to be a practical communications tool for small to medium sized organisations working in a number of different sectors from community radio, agricultural development, education or health programmes, to elections monitoring or emergency relief operations. Freedom Fone makes it easy to interact on an information-on-demand basis with offline audiences that speak multiple languages and may struggle to read or write.
During the practical session after installing Freedom Fone at the Cameroon Link Multi-media Centre in Bonaberi-Douala, the ICT Consultant said, Freedom Fone allows anyone with a phone to access or contribute information on a specific issue 24 hours a day and seven days a week. It takes advantage of audio and text to address language and literacy barriers when reaching out to marginalised audiences that don't have access to other media. Most important he added, compared to GRINS, no internet access is required by either you or your audience during communication. It uses interactive voice menus to deliver information to and record information from a caller. Each of ICT technicians was given the opportunity to become familiar with the menu already installed at Cameroon Link when they called the following telephone number 00237 71890376: This number takes you to a healh campaign and as you press different buttons, instructions for accessing information changed. "press 1 to access your account, press 2 to speak to a representative,… press 5 to leave a message...". You will realize that we all sometimes have to deal with this kind of system when we dial a number to top up the credit on our mobile phone account, or to talk to a support person in a communication system, etc. Freedom Fone enables you to design your own interactive menus to: Share audio information with your audience; Organise a poll to enable your audience to vote on an issue using their phone; Collect SMSs from your audience - these might be updates about specific news events, alerts or similar time critical information; and Get your audience to leave audio messages to share their opinion on a particular topic or make reports in their own language. Again, there are no geographical limitations to Freedom Fone. In fact it can be used and deployed in all countries where there is mobile network coverage, and content can be recorded in any language - even multiple languages, simultaneously. In addition to ordinary mobile phones, your callers can use landlines and internet-based phones to access the service. This means that Freedom Fone can receive and deliver crucial information via mobile phones or landlines in situations facing power constraints or where the Internet access is limited or interrupted. It provides an installer that automates much of the setup, empowering a nontechnical user to independently set up a sophisticated telephony server in an organisation under 30 minutes. The Cameroon Link ICT Officer explained the role of Farm Radio International during the training processing in Arusha, Tanzania. Farm Radio International (www.farmradio.org) is a Canadian-based, non-profit organisation that assists small scale farmers in Africa with food security. Farm Radio works with over 290 partner radio stations across Africa to train broadcasters, create radio scripts and conduct educational radio campaigns on agricultural topics that can improve the livelihoods of farmers. Since January 2010, Farm Radio has been using Freedom Fone to increase the impact of their educational radio programmes and involve more farmers' voices. Farm Radio is organizing a three month long e-Course on scripting for programming from this month. A face-to-face training on the use of barza network has been planned in Arusha, Tanzania also this month. The Commonwealth of Learning and Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation are supporting these outreach activities in Africa through Farm Radio. Examples of other usage of the Freedom Fone in other countries like Ghana, Zimbabwe, Malawi and so on were presented during the training. Closing the ICT workshop, the executive director of Cameroon Link told the ICT technicians to take advantage of the existence of Freedom Fone in Cameroon and introduce the system in their work places. The Mobigater is a unique tool to enhance workability of the Freedom Fone. Cameroon Link search are organizations involved in community radio, health campaigns, supporting women’s rights, enhancing business opportunities, election monitoring and so on. Freedom Fone would help us and you know our audiences, since it works with a voice menu, sends and collects SMS, while advertising our services. More training has been planned for ICT technicians in other parts of Cameroon in the next few months.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

BCH Africa Graduates First Batch of Project Managers

Ojong Helen Ayamba, Cameroon Link: The Regional Delegate for Public Health in the Littoral, Dr. Yamba Beyas Martin, presided over the case study of Malontsa Valery Roger, a student of Building Capacity for Africa’s professional training centre in PK 14 Ndokoti-Douala on September 11. Other members of jury were James Achanyi-Fontatem, Health Communication Consultant and Kologo Niquese, a mother and child rights activist. The theme of the case study for certification as a manager community health projects was “the framework of mother and child health promotion in the district of Deido in a Douala city neighbourhood of Cameroon.
Malontsa observed that the health of the mother and the child at this century remains a great preoccupation due to an increase in the rate of mortality. Infant mortality rate in Africa stands at 51% representing some 4.7 million deaths for children below 5 years, according to UNICEF statistics of 2007. The researcher observed that if the pack of activities included the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of a baby, the promotion of hand washing, oral rehydration therapy and the constant use on the long lasting impregnated mosquito net by child below 5 years, the number of child deaths will be reduced drastically. Other activities Malontsa suggested for the acceleration of behavior change communication are the organization of routine vaccination campaigns, the promotion of the consumption of iodized salt and maternal pre-natal consultation and intermittent preventive treatment. He noted that Cameroon subscribed to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals No 4 and 5 by the year 2015 concerning the reduction of infant mortality and the amelioration of maternal health care. The government has organized a good number of activities across the country, but unfortunately the population has not been involved at the decision making process. They have been involved as passive actors and this has led to low impact. Malontsa adds that community sensitization has been insufficient at all stages and this is seen from statistics collected during the past vaccination campaigns. It within the context of the failures that the researcher focused his attention on the identification of the role communities have to play during preparation of maternal and infant health care strategies, during execution and during evaluation in Cameroon. He analyzed the factors that encourage active participation and influence behavior change within communities through the involvement dialogue groups and potential civil society organisations. He went on to say, that the result of his research should lead to proposals not only at district level, but at regional and national levels of strategic actions for reinforcing community participation in health care delivery.
The second study case examined during the presentation and review session was staged by Nombo Kondji Hermannie Carine, a jurist whose theme of research focused on Communication for development. The work presented at the end of one-year long training and field research at BCH Africa for obtaining the professional qualification and certification as community projects manager focused on the promotion of human rights in Cameroon. The president of the jury was Dr. Foyet Ignace, a jurist and economist. Nombo Kondji based her argument on the fact that parents in Cameroon do not know where their rights begin and where they end, as she quoted the Cameroon National Commission on Human Rights. She lamented on the fact that many consider their rights as a favour or a privilege, when citing the right to work, right to health, right to education, right to vote and right to well-being as examples. During her case study, she researched on the dispositions put in place by the government through existing structures, strategies, activities and other means to promote human rights in Cameroon. Her aim for carrying out research on the topic is to contribute and reinforce the promotion of rights in Cameroon through the use of communication models for development and behaviour change. This model aims at ameliorating the well-being of individuals, through their participation in development processes freely and actively through equitable sharing of benefits that result thereafter following their interventions. Nombo Kondji emphasized the fact that all actors of the public and private sectors have to show proof of diligence and intervene when incidence of human rights abuses surface within their communities. Four students qualified in the first batch certification exercise of September 11, 2012. BCH Africa professional training center was authorized by the Cameroon government through a ministerial order no. 0085/MINEFOP/SG/SDGSF/SACD of 7th June 2010.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

VISAGAN NAIDOO IS COL’S VICE PRESIDENT

Courtesy of COL, www.col.org 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. www.col.org/newsreleases www.col.org/akanwar

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cameroon Link holds bilateral talks with Malaria No More

By Camlink News Email: camlink99@gmail.com
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, camlink99@gmail.com
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.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Azi Development Organisation Joins COL Initiative in Yaoundé

By Ojong Helen Ayamba, Email: helenayamba@yahoo.com The Azi Development Organisation (Yaounde Branch) led by Fonge James Ngufor joined the band wagon for the promotion of mother and child care last July 24, 2012 when the organization endorsed the national action plan for the World Breastfeeding Week this year. The exchange workshop was chaired by the sub director for food and nutrition at the ministry of public health in the presence of COL Cameroon Link partnership liaison, James Achanyi-Fontem. Speaking during the exchange workshop for preparation of the launching of the World Breastfeeding Week in Cameroon by the Minister of Public Health, Andre Mama Fouda, Azi elites in Yaoundé announced plans to carry out activities in Menji during the celebrations in collaboration with Lebialem Community Radio. The world breastfeeding week will be launched at the health district of Biyem Assi – Yaounde on the 17th August and activities will continue up to 23rd August 2012. The theme is . The members will contribute to radio story design programming on infant and young child feeding with the mother and child health care and rights initiative launched on the station in October 2010. The Azi Development Organisation Branch in Yaoundé was set up on the 4th February 2011. The objective of the organization is search means of securing and guaranteeing opportunities for the promotion of the well being of its members and the development of common initiative activities for the socio-economic advancement of the local populations in Lebialem. The organisation inculcates a strong sense of responsibility, discipline, fraternity, unity and solidarity amongst its members and the people from Azi – Lebang in Lebialem. Members meet in Yaounde on the third Sunday of each month to share experiences and gifts. Azi Development Organisation, Yaounde Branch, promotes excellence amongst its members and youths from Lebialem Division in the south west region of Cameroon. World Breastfeeding Week this year commemorates the 20th anniversary of the World Breastfeeding Week and the called for implementation of the Ten Steps in all maternity facilities with the context of Global Strategy launched by WHO/UNICEF in 2002. For this reason, it would be strengthening communities in Lebialem to increase greater participation and responsibility in promoting, protecting and supporting breastfeeding and optimal young child feeding rights Its activities will focus on Information, education and sensitisation of communities through Lebialem Community Radio and the organisation of briefings with educative talks, coach mothers’ support groups on the importance of breastfeeding and encourage the communities to be more supportive of breastfeeding mothers and their families.. t is expected that by the end of the World Breastfeeding Week in Cameroon on the 23rd August, 2012: • More people would have been aware of the risks of not breastfeeding • More people would be aware of the benefits of breastfeeding • Unethical Marketing Practices will be better monitored • More people would bee involved in Code monitoring activities • More Mothers would be supported by Fathers Support groups • More radio programmes on breastfeeding promotion would have been realised by the community rural radio stations with jingles and spots carrying specific messages at particular periods. The exchange workshop was an opportunity for sharing past experiences and impact of community of learning activities. For more information, write to fonge James Ngufor – email: fongejames@yahoo.com or the secretary, Achajeng – email: achajeng@yahoo.com

Azi Development Organisation Joins COL Initiative in Yaoundé

By Ojong Helen Ayamba, Email: helenayamba@yahoo.com The Azi Development Organisation (Yaounde Branch) led by Fonge James Ngufor joined the band wagon for the promotion of mother and child care last July 24, 2012 when the organization endorsed the national action plan for the World Breastfeeding Week this year. The meeting was chaired by the sub director for food and nutrition at the ministry of public health in the presence of COL Cameroon Link partnership liaison, James Achanyi-Fontem. Speaking during the exchange workshop for preparation of the launching of the World Breastfeeding Week in Cameroon by the Minister of Public Health, Andre Mama Fouda, Azi elites in Yaoundé announced plans to carry out activities in Menji during the celebrations in collaboration with Lebialem Community Radio. The world breastfeeding week will be launched at the health district of Biyem Assi – Yaounde on the 17th August and activities will continue up to 23rd August 2012. The theme is . The members will contribute to radio story design programming on infant and young child feeding with the mother and child health care and rights initiative launched on the station in October 2010. The Azi Development Organisation Branch in Yaoundé was set up on the 4th February 2011. The objective of the organization is search means of securing and guaranteeing opportunities for the promotion of the well being of its members and the development of common initiative activities for the socio-economic advancement of the local populations in Lebialem. The organisation inculcates a strong sense of responsibility, discipline, fraternity, unity and solidarity amongst its members and the people from Azi – Lebang in Lebialem. Members meet in Yaounde on the third Sunday of each month to share experiences and gifts. Azi Development Organisation, Yaounde Branch, promotes excellence amongst its members and youths from Lebialem Division in the south west region of Cameroon. World Breastfeeding Week this year commemorates the 20th anniversary of the World Breastfeeding Week and the called for implementation of the Ten Steps in all maternity facilities with the context of Global Strategy launched by WHO/UNICEF in 2002. For this reason, it would be strengthening communities in Lebialem to increase greater participation and responsibility in promoting, protecting and supporting breastfeeding and optimal young child feeding rights Its activities will focus on Information, education and sensitisation of communities through Lebialem Community Radio and the organisation of briefings with educative talks, coach mothers’ support groups on the importance of breastfeeding and encourage the communities to be more supportive of breastfeeding mothers and their families.. t is expected that by the end of the World Breastfeeding Week in Cameroon on the 23rd August, 2012: • More people would have been aware of the risks of not breastfeeding • More people would be aware of the benefits of breastfeeding • Unethical Marketing Practices will be better monitored • More people would bee involved in Code monitoring activities • More Mothers would be supported by Fathers Support groups • More radio programmes on breastfeeding promotion would have been realised by the community rural radio stations with jingles and spots carrying specific messages at particular periods. For more information, write to fonge James Ngufor – email: fongejames@yahoo.com or the secretary, Achajeng – email: achajeng@yahoo.com

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Cameroon link Participates In Health Partnership Strategy Workshop

By Camlink News, Email: camlink99@gmail.com The Cameroon Cooperation Division of the ministry of public health organized a three-day workshop on partnership strategy and contract initiation in Douala from the 19th – 21st July 2012 for leaders of health development organizations and health district service heads in the littoral region.
Closing the workshop on July 21, the regional delegate for public health in the littoral, Dr. Yamba Beyas Martin, expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the exchanges between the public and private health sector representatives and the excellent delivery of content by the team from the cooperation division led by Maina Djoulde Emmanuel.
Other facilitators included Mrs. Abena Yolande, Dr. Bahanag Bassong, Mrs. Wonje Martine, Mrs. Mbango Anne and Ngah Emanuel , all top level officials of the ministry of public health in Yaoundé. Cameroon Link was amongst the ten health sector civil society organizations including the association for assistance and well being, mother and child association, association for women’s development and the association for the vulgarization of health information. The chief of the cooperation division at the ministry of public health told the participants that health sector partnership has a very long history before Dr. Bahanag Bassong presented the different judicial tools and structures for partnership realization. The Cooperation division chief discussed the changes made in the new health sector partnership document as he explained the judicial norms for establishing a partnership contract document. Each participant received the new Cameroon health sector partnership strategy document, which covers the period 2007 – 2015. The health sector strategy, reviewed and adopted tunes with the growth and employment strategy in Caùmeroon, which is the general reference frame work of health policies and programmes since 2001. The new document sets major guidelines and priority strategic directions of action as far as health delivery is concerned with the support of national and international partners.
In effect, all forces have been federated to fight against poverty through the health sector strategy and this gives the opportunity for contracting interventions with the following objectives: • To promote and render operational the complementarities between all health stakeholders at the national public, private and community levels, and the international development partners who support Cameroon’s health sector action. • To reinforce the decentralization of the national health system in order to ensure result-based management at the peripheral level. The review of the new health sector partnership strategy was participatory and lays the frame work of collaboration between all health stakeholders. It is strongly held that this constitutes a basic instrument capable of contributing to promote collaboration between the public, private and traditional sub-sectors in order to ensure quality health care. According to the Minister of Public health, André Mama Fouda, this marks the adherence of all health stakeholders to a single collaboration frame work. International partners including the European Union, French Technical Cooperation, GIZ, UNICEF and WHO contributed in designing the Cameroon Health Sector Strategy for promoting partnerships. This frame work is a result of consensus between all stakeholders because the development of the partnership strategy involved the participation of the ministry in charge of public health, related ministries, private organizations, denominational bodies, professional associations, NGOs, bodies representing bilateral or multi-lateral co-operation institutions as well as the population. The partnership strategy is drawn with inspiration from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with the hope that it would make it possible to improve health care quality and preserve the principles of equity and ethics in health care provision. The partnership strategy axes include putting in place a legal and institutional framework and technical support, implementation of a contractual approach among stakeholders of the public and private sub sectors, setting up of new relations framework among stakeholders of the public sector, supporting and monitoring of implementation of the partnership. Collaboration documents shared for effecting health sector partnership included the collaboration agreement letter, frame work convention; performance contract, obligations and resources frame work, miscellaneous and final provisions.
The 40 participants were drawn from the regional delegation for public health in the littoral, the Health District Services, municipal councils and health associations. On the third day of the workshop participants constituted three work groups to share experiences and evaluate the pertinence of the new health sector strategy. The work group session led to participants conceiving sample frame work documents as described in the Cameroon health sector partnership strategy (2007 – 2015). The first health sector strategy covered the period from 2001 – 2010.This did not produce the impact expected and it has been reviewed putting into consideration the weaknesses of the first health partnership strategy document. The health strategy workshop gave the opportunity for sharing past and current positive experiences of Cameroon Link and Community of Learning partnership during the radio story design initiative pilot phase just ended in Lebialem. Cameroon Link aims at bringing on board the ministry of public health through the department for health promotion to support the scaling up phase at national level. Sharing of COL Cameroon Link partnership impact continues as it was made known that activities related to the promotion of mother and child health care would be introduced into the Cameroon budget from the year 2013. Cameroon Link strongly holds the opinion that babies don't wait and the collaboration arrangements should avoid any partnerships with conflict of interest.