First HIV/AIDS Citizens' Awareness Health Program Judged Highly Successful
Bamenda - Cameroon
April 20, 2009

On Wednesday 15 April 2009, the Fomunyoh Foundation (TFF) launched its HIV / AIDS citizens’ awareness program under the appellation of Improving HIV/AIDS Knowledge and Access to Healthcare (IYHAKAH) initiative. The program, designed to provide a neutral avenue for citizens to learn about the pandemic and obtain information from national and international experts, is expected to run a series of monthly seminars and workshops for the first year.

Coordinated by Ms Terry Acha nee Fomundam, IYHAKAH’s launching event had as guest speakers Dr. Nyamndi Godlove Ganyam, North West Regional Coordinator in charge of HIV/AIDS at the Regional Hospital in Bamenda, and Dr. Arrey Charles Kefie of the Day Clinic — a special unit of the Regional Hospital that carters to people living with HIV/AIDS. Dr. Nyamndi discussed “HIV/AIDS rates in North West Cameroon and a remedial plan of action”, while Dr. Arrey discussed the “Challenges of accessing Healthcare in the North West Region and measures to improve healthcare delivery.”

After the two presentations by the medical experts, the participants engaged in an enriching interactive session. Some of the questions raised by participants focused on the role the Foundation’s IYHAKAH could play to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS as well as help draw the attention of less suspecting citizens to traditional medical practitioners who claim to cure HIV/AIDS. Participants wanted to know more about the means of transmittal of HIV / AIDS, with some asking if HIV/AIDS can be transmitted through mosquito bites, given the prevalence of mosquitoes in certain parts of Cameroon. Some participants recommended that TFF experts frequently visit communities and village or regional meetings to share the fundamentals of the IYHAKAH initiative with those that are unable to attend seminars at the Foundation’s head office. The Foundation Radio was highly applauded for helping sensitize the population on IYHAKAH and the plight of HIV / AIDS; and participants requested that the sensitization be intensified. In responding to the workshop review questionnaires, many participants recommended, strongly, that IYHAKAH seminars be held weekly rather than monthly.

Initially planned for 80 participants from a cross section of society, the event was overbooked as 120 participants showed up from the medical core, Regional administrative bodies, and social and cultural associations. In attendance were political and civic leaders, traditional rulers, business men and women, jurists, representatives of the military, teachers, students and researchers from international institutions. The event received extensive media coverage and was reported on in Abakwa, Hot Coffee, and Foundation radio FM stations, as well on three media outlets with nationwide coverage — STV Television, and Dikalo and EDEN newspapers.

The next IYHAKAH seminar will be held in May at the Foundation head office, on a date to be announced soon. To facilitate pre-registration, the expert speakers and topics will also be announced in advance.

A welcome speech presented by Jespa Ajereboh,
the Country Coordinator of The Fomunyoh Foundation (TFF), on the occasion of the launching of the Foundation's IYHAKAH Health Program.
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TFF / IYHAKAH Coordinator Ms. Therese Acha née Fomundam explains the initiative to the audience as Country Coordinator Jespa Ajereboh looks on.

Dr. Arrey Charles during his presentation

Dr. Nyamndi Godlove during
his presentation

Participants ask questions
during the interactive Q & A period

Participants ask questions