By Fru Rita Ngum
Community-Based Inclusive Development, Gender and Child Safeguarding (CBID/GBV) have been underlined as key components of the Inclusive Eye Health Project (IEH). This was during a one-day workshop, at the Baptist Center Nkwen, Bamenda on March 31, 2022.
Declaring the workshop open, Mr. Wango Barnabas, Assistant Administrator on behalf of the Director of Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) Health Services encouraged participants to avail themselves and grasp concepts thought. “The lessons dispensed here will go long to make access to inclusive eye health a reality in your different institutions. There make most of this workshop,” he stressed.
Drilling stakeholders on the project, Mr. Tamon James, Project Coordinator explained that inclusive eye health is ensuring eye care services are accessible and welcoming to all members of the community, including persons with disabilities.
“Equally it means proactively guaranteeing that people with long-term vision impairment access wider opportunities in rehabilitation health, education, livelihood, and social inclusion,” says Mr. Tamon.
According to him, 20% of the world’s poorest population are persons with disabilities, thus eye health staff need to be skilled in responding to this proportion of the population with irreversible blindness.
Women and girls suffer from gender-based violence that keeps them sometimes silent from opening up even to health care providers. Conscious of these issues, Nsono Josephine, Supervisor of the Gender and Child Protection Services drew the attention of the stakeholders to put in place strategies, right policies, and protocols at all levels to curb the incident of gender-based violence and ensure that victims speak up as well as receive the right health care.
There are many barriers limiting access to eye health in societies. Hence participants were equipped with firsthand skills in surmounting them. Loshie Eugene, SEEPD Program Officer while drilling on the existing barriers like attitude, communication, policies, and physical structures amongst others must be faced head-on to achieve the inclusive eye health goal.
Nfor Comfort, an Attendee representing the Director of the Nkambe District Hospital testified that the workshop was an eye-opener as they have learned strategies on how to foster inclusion in the context of the project and beyond. She like other stakeholders promised to work with their hospital staff to put in place strategies that will enable them to offer inclusive health care. Inclusive Eye Health is been implemented thanks to funding from CBM.
The workshop attendees were Directors, Administrators, Eye Nurse, and Ophthalmologists from the partner health facilities of the project.