Wednesday, June 13, 2012
UNICEF REINFORCES CAPACITIES OF CBOs ON PMTCT OF HIV By Ojong Helen Ayamba, Cameroon Link Email: email@example.com Some 50 selected active Community Based Organisations (CBO) and Community Health Relay Agents in the health district of Bonassama have received training as community social mobilisation support groups for the research of missing cases within the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV programme in Cameroon. The training organised by the Health District of Bonassama in collaboration with UNICEF Cameroon was a follow up of an initial workshop targeting health workers within health facilities. The training aimed at capacitating the community health relay agents sponsored UNICEF is a programme on the support and mobilisation of expectant mothers to go for screening of HIV and if declared positive, be supported in various ways. At the end of the training, the participants acknowledged that they are now well informed on the rate of HIV infection of pregnant mothers, the modes of transmission of HIV from mother to child, risk factors of transmission, strategies for prevention, counselling and screening, taking a decision on feeding of a newly born baby, the elements of psychosocial care of an infected pregnant mother, collaboration and linkages with the health district, coordination of the interventions surrounding prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV and care within the health district, coordination within the different structures intervening like the national programme, maternity, the Screening and Care Centre, laboratories, and support groups only to name a few. Insistence was put on the role played by community support groups and their functions within the health district, how to communicate and send out pertinent information messages within communities on the importance of PMTCT of HIV and adequate use of the services of existing structures and support of persons infected or affected with families within the community in collaboration with the health district services. The reason for the training was based on the fact that out of 15.800.000 inhabitants, 575.000 babies are expected to be born at a time the prevalence is rated at 5.5%. This means that 25.000 babies are infected with HIV where there is no rapid intervention before, during and after birth. Intervention services exist but they are not used regularly to avoid infection of infants. The strategies put in place consist of preventing the transmission of HIV in pregnant women, girls at the age of puberty and future mothers, prevention of pregnancies for already infected mothers, prevention of transmission from the mother to child of HIV and guarantee of care and support of the mother, the child and the family. It was revealed by the facilitator, Dr. Nzima Nzima Valery, Chief Medical Officer for Bonassama Health District, that the attendance at HIV screening and care centres is low, there is insufficient sharing of information within the communities. For these reason, the mobilisation of the population to access the available services through the use and involvement of associations like the Red Cross, Community Based Organisations is recommended. The Community Based Organisations (CBO) involved were already trained within the on-going Scaling Up Malaria control for Impact (SUFI). These CBOs are current undertaking home visit within the mosquito net hang up campaign, which include verification of the effective intermittent prevention of pregnant women. This gives a good opportunity for the community relay agents to have contacts with the pregnant women, counsel and organise educative talks within the communities. The current training reinforces the outreach capacities of the CBOs in the health district of Bonassma.The SUFI CBOs trained included COGESID Bonamikano, Bonamassombwa, CEV St. Kisito, Muan Dye, MEWA, Dominance Jeunes Dames, Famille Batoufam, AJMA first Class, Lengang Mbong, Rural Help Project, Cameroon Link, Amical des Habitants ALPICAM, Bongkisheri Women, Meres sensibles, Bonangando Essome, AJEGBO, Amie Intime, Batissons l'Avenir, Ngo Nguem, RAFED 4, JARDIN, Femmes Sinceres, Achenadia Development Association,Femmes Dynamiques, COGESID Mambanda, Association de Solidarite Sante des Femmes, Ass. Jeunes New Style, Association Jeune Debrouillard.