By Bonkung Handerson
The Government of Cameroon via the Northwest Regional Office has congratulated the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services (CBCHS) and her partners for assisting government in providing healthcare to the population, especially to persons with disabilities (PWDs). Viane Mekala, Secretary General of the NW region made the commendation on June 26, 2021 at the Baptist Center while launching two new projects initiated by the CBCHS and supported by her partners in favour of PWDs. The two projects include: Disability Inclusive Humanitarian Action (DIHA) and Inclusive Eye Health (IEH). The DIHA initiative will help to mainstream disability in the ongoing humanitarian assistance to increase access and protection for persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups. On the other hand, the IEH initiative will ensure continuous access to eye healthcare, rehabilitation and other essential health services to PWDs in the context of COVID-19.
Both project initiatives sponsored by the German Government through the Christian Blind Mission (CBM) will be implemented in the Northwest region. The IHR project will run from June 2021 to April 2023 and will reach out to beneficiaries in all 34 sub-divisions of the Northwest region. Meanwhile, the IEH initiative will run from June 2021 to May 2023 for beneficiaries in 16 health facilities in the following 12 Health Districts in the Northwest region: Bamenda, Tubah, Fundong, Santa, Batibo, Ndop, Kumbo West, Nkambe, Bafut, Ndu, Wum and Oku. A press release to sanction the launching stated that the Disability Inclusive Humanitarian Action and the Inclusive Eye Health projects were born from the analysis of the contexts of the ongoing humanitarian crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic in the Northwest region. The assessment revealed huge access challenges to humanitarian assistance for persons with disabilities and other vulnerable persons such as women, older age people and persons with chronic diseases partly because humanitarian assistance is provided in non-inclusive ways. Similarly, vulnerable groups do not readily have access to quality eye health and rehabilitation services in communities of the crisis hit Northwest region. Quizzed on the reason of funding these projects, CBM Country Director, Julius Niba Fon explained that inclusive eye health remains a pillar of CBM’s interventions whereby “We strive to combat avoidable blindness by making eye care inclusive, accessible and affordable”. Mr. Fon explained that “At CBM, we understand that persons with disabilities are often the most affected in any disaster whether natural or man-made, reason why CBM heeded to the continuous cry from its partners in the Southwest and Northwest regions of the rapid eroding of the disability inclusive development endeavours caused by the ongoing socio-political crisis. In response, a pilot program started in the Southwest in 2020 with CBM supporting the PCC for the 24-month program. “This inclusive emergency response program is being extended to the Northwest today with a CBM support to CBCHS for two years as well,” the Country Director announced. While wishing for a successful implementation, the CBM Country Director prayed for an enabling environment and for return to normalcy in the two restive regions.
On behalf of the CBCHS as implementing partner, its Director, Prof. Tih Pius Muffih saluted the long standing partnership with CBM since 1981 barely one year later when the CBCHS started Services for Persons with Disabilities in 1980. The Director of Health Services stressed on the Mission of the CBCHS, which is the provision of quality care to all irrespective of whoever is in need of health care. The DHS equally saluted the key stakeholders who attended the launching notably; the hard working team of the Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities led by the Program Manager, Mr. Awa Jacques Chirac, representatives of Associations of Persons with Disabilities in the Northwest, Humanitarian organisations, Mayors, Administrators and the Media.