By Tina Ashiyo
“There is a general increase in the number of persons with disabilities with the situation in the North West and South Regions of Cameroon aggravated by the socio-political crisis.” Prof. Tih Pius Muffih, Director of CBC Health Services (DHS), made this observation while welcoming some 92 health service providers in a workshop organized by the Disability Inclusive Humanitarian Project from December 21-22, 2021 at the Baptist Center Hall, Nkwen, Bamenda.
The workshop was aimed at training health care providers on the Project philosophy and the humanitarian and inclusive health principles. The workshop had as participants, medical officers, nurses, laboratory technicians, social workers and Administrators from 16 health facilities including district hospitals in the North West Region through which DIHA is providing health services. The Bamenda workshop came after one that was organized in Ndu on December 17, 2021 for 17 similar cadre of participants from Donga Mantung Division for same purpose making a total of 109 participants that have been trained. The CBC Health Services Director told the participants that with a significant percentage of the population being persons with disabilities resulting from diseases, daily activities and especially the socio-political crisis, health service providers are supposed to take measures to ensure that persons with disabilities access health care without barriers and also prevent further disabilities in communities. Prof. Tih Pius urged the participants to provide quality care to all by making sure that their services are acceptable, affordable, available and accessible as well as meeting the specific needs of all who access their services. He called on them to be agents of positive social change by improving the social wellbeing of their beneficiaries and making their services inclusive, beneficial and accessible to all especially to persons with disabilities.
The health service providers who participated in the workshop are working within the context of the humanitarian crisis in the Northwest region and will be carrying out outreach consultations in communities in the crisis hit region. In this light, the health workers received knowledge on humanitarian principles. They were told that as humanitarian workers their activities are supposed to be guided by the principles of humanity, neutrality in the face of conflicting parties, impartiality in the discharge of services, independence and accountability to affected populations. They were also told that as they discharge their activities at facility and community levels, they are supposed to ensure their safety and security by taking measures like vigilance, mastery of their communities, terrain and stakeholders, and being formal to be free from harm and dangers. The participants were told that to deliver inclusive health services, they should intentionally identify and meet the specific needs of persons with different disability types and remove the environmental, communicational, attitudinal and other barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from accessing services. Given that there is a sharp increase in the level of gender-based violence in the crisis hit region, participants received knowledge on safeguarding and protection. They were urged to prevent gender-based violence by raising awareness on it, identifying and managing survivors and referring cases of gender-based violence in their communities to existing services.
The two-day workshop was an opportunity during which links were created between the identification of critical health cases in the communities by community field workers and volunteers who were trained a few weeks before and service delivery at the health facilities by the trained health service providers. The participants were also drilled on data collection and reporting and the importance of and their role in communication and identification and development of success stories in project implementation. The participants developed their outreach plans according to their health areas/zones to enable them effectively carry out community outreach activities which will begin in January 2022. At the end of the workshop, the Project Coordinator, Asheri Ngah expressed the gratitude of the CBC Health Services to the participants for their huge turn out and active participation throughout the workshop. She called on them to put in their best efforts in their different communities for the objective of the training to be attained. Registers and other working tools were distributed to participants to enable them identify and provide services to beneficiaries.
The DIHA project is expected to provide health services to over 27,000 beneficiaries including hospital services, Primary Health Care Services, Rehabilitation, Referral to specialized services, long-term care, provision of psychosocial support to survivors, especially children and rehabilitation of victims of GBV and mobile health services (home-based), especially for persons with disabilities that are less mobile. The DIHA Project is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office through CBM and implemented in the North West Region by the CBC Health Services.