By Fru Rita Ngum
The CBC Health Services has remained committed to promoting sports in general and specifically sports for persons with disabilities given its soft spot on promoting disability inclusion in all domains. This has been evident in the series of actions demonstrated by the administration of the CBC Health Services in supporting sports movements, particularly the Abakwa Boyz Amputee Football team.
The Amputee Football team is a Rehabilitation Program created in 2019 by a group of Amputees in Bamenda. In 2020, the name was transformed to Abakwa Boyz Amputee FC to represent the Northwest Region of Cameroon. The team is made up of boys with amputated legs and some cases amputated arms.
The CBC Health Services is noted as an organization in the Northwest Region with a drive in promoting disability inclusion. Based on this, the Amputee Football team contacted the CBC Health Services through formal and informal advocacy visits soliciting support to facilitate their activities. The team perceives the Director of the CBC Health Services as their mentor, reason why they have often paid several visits to his office to seek orientation on their activities.
In 2019, the CBC Health Services sent one of its staff from Mboppi Baptist Hospital, Nfor Wilfred, an Assistant Physiotherapist to travel with the Amputee National team from Cameroon to Angola for the African Amputee Football game. According to the Coordinator of the Northwest team, Fon Dieudonne, they are grateful to the CBC Health Services for such a gesture. “We called him in Angola our team doctor because he followed us up and ensured we did not return with injuries,” the coordinator recollects.
The year 2020 saw the Abakwa Boys Amputee FC emerging as champions of the Maiden Edition of Cameroon Amputee National Football League dubbed, CANAFL 2020. They emerged victorious beating rivals of the South West Region, SWAMPUTEE AFC 3#1 at the finals that took placw at Vishi Higher Institute Bonaberi, Douala.
In a discussion with the Coordinator for the Northwest Region Amputee Football team Fon Dieudonne, the victory of National Amputee Football League in Cameroon in August 2021, the provision of mental health and psychosocial support to members of the team, and the provision of start-up capital to some amputees to empower them on livelihood are just few of many achievements the team has recorded, with massive support from the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services.
Even though members of the team focus on football, the team Coordinator has a vision for the team to go beyond football. As he looks into the future, the intention is to build a weekly exercise program for persons with disabilities in Bamenda to curb the prevalence of Non Communicable Diseases amongst them through inclusive sporting activities. They equally has as goal to source for funding from national and international organizations to sustain activities of the group.
With this victory, the team continuously knocks at the doors of the CBC Health Services for support to enable them to prepare ahead of the upcoming tournament in Angola. During the 2021 Chiefs of Center meeting of the CBC Health Services that took place in Yaounde and the Ear and Hearing Care implementation meeting in Bamenda, the CBC Health Services handed financial support to the team. While handing the support to the team, the Chief of Administration and Finance of the CBC Health Services, Mr. Warri Denis charged them to be committed to achieving their dreams. He called on them to use the team and preach inclusion as they carry out advocacy visits at different levels.
As part of its visibility activities, the team organized a press conference in a hall provided by the CBC Health Services at the Baptist Center Nkwen in Bamenda recently. The objective of the press conference was to present the trophy to the public through the press and to solicit funding from well-wishers. The event was attended among others by the SEEPD Program Manager, Awa Jacques Chirac who commended the team for their brilliant performance. He pledged continues support of the CBC Health Services to the team and revealed that the CBC Health Services is willing to source funding to facilitate the running of their activities.
The SEEPD Program is excited to source funding for the team as this falls in line with the focus of the program to strengthen systems to promote Community Based Inclusive Development. The SEEPD Program acknowledges the support of the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) in support this action.