By Fru Rita Ngum
“Now I know my high blood pressure status. This has encouraged us to know our status and engage more in sports to fight hypertension”. This is the impression of Dieudonne Fon a mobility impaired footballer and Coordinator of the Think Big Amputee Football. Like Dieudonne, these are the same feelings expressed by some amputees who participated in the 2021 commemorative activities of the World Hypertension and World No Tobacco Days organized by the Non Communicable Diseases (NCD) Prevention and Control program of the CBC Health Services recently. Amongst the commemorative activities organized this year by the NCD program were the amputee football, gold ball, health education, free screening and counselling for Hypertension, obesity, disability, and the risk of developing other Non-Communicable Diseases especially among persons with impairments.
The commemoration this year was described as inclusive given that Persons with Disabilities were not only involved in the implementation stage but from the planning stage. This ties with the slogan of “Nothing about us without us” as more Persons with Disabilities get more and more involved in decisions, policies and activities that involve them. Before the commemoration, planning meetings were held between the NCD Program and the leadership of the Coordinating Unit of Associations of Persons with Disabilities and Think Big Amputee football club. According to the Supervisor of the NCD Program Dr. Njume Epie, CBC Health Services has actively been involved in NCD Screening for the past 5 years but from the statistics, Persons with Disabilities have been missing so it became a worrying issue; a reason why this year they decided to intentionally involve them in planning and implementation of the activities – inclusion oriented decision. He added that persons with impairments are exposed to traditional risk factors related to their perceived reduced level of physical activity, and limited access to screening, diagnoses, and management. He noted that all NCD services in the CBC Health Services are intentionally made accessible to Persons with Disabilities, reason why measures were put in place to ensure the accessibility to the event and the screening sites. The strategy of planning and implementing the commemorative activities and free screening with Persons with Disabilities is considered a good practice worth emulating by other health structures given that it falls in line with the April 2010 disability right which highlights the free access to health by Persons with Disabilities.
In line with its mandate to strengthen systems to foster inclusion, the SEEPD Program has provided the capacity to the CBC Health Service structures with NCD being one of them. The initiative to consider People with Disabilities in actions not only to tick the box but being intentional about their participation is one of the things the SEEPD Program is excited to support. It is the wish of the Program to see more inclusive actions in different aspects of the society.