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Humans · Economy

Cameroon kicks Polio and Ebola away

April 18th, 2015
in:Humans, Economy
by:Israel Bionyi
located in:Cameroon
tags:Cameroon, Ebola, polio, UNICEF, vaccines

Ebola and Polio are not just public health issues, but have become threats to the economy and development of the affected countries. Cameroon started an initiative to fight with a massive communication campaign.

Yaounde, Cameroon- The representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Madame Najat Rochida, accompanied by other dignitaries of the UN system: UNICEF, UNESCO, WHO, UNAIDS, FAO, and ILO and Cameroon’s Minister of Public Health, Andre Mama Fouda, alongside the Governor of the South region, Mr. Jules Marcellin Ndjaga and some representatives of the Ministry of Communications, all gathered at the cosmopolitan town of Kye-Ossi (found some 250 km south of Yaoundé) in January 2015 to launch a 7 days massive communications campaign against Ebola and Polio virus.

In a press conference, the Minister of Public Health reminded the public that it is when Cameroon was about to declare the end of the Polio Virus that other cases were reported and stressed  the fact that this zone was chosen because the city is a crossroads between Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and therefore, is an open door for penetration of any pandemic.

The Minister also added that Cameroon has not yet recorded any confirmed case of Ebola, but the country is considered at high risk, along with another 15 African countries, not just because of its long and porous border with Nigeria but also due to its geographical position between West and Central Africa.

Ebola is not just a public health issue, said Najat Rochida: it has become a threat to the economy and development, because it is especially devastating. Since March 21st 2014, 21,700 cases were detected in countries where the disease is rife with 8,645 deaths. At the first workshop that was open on this day, she told reporters it is the beginning of a massive campaign that will involve a lot of capacity building and knowledge sharing. In her speech, she saluted the efforts of UNFPA, UNICEF, UNESCO, FAO, ITU and UNDP teams and their remarkable work to fight these pandemics.

To make sure that the messages are well assimilated, the dignitaries carved out communications in French, English, Spanish and the Bamoun language which they used in their ‚round-town campaigns to share knowledge with the Kye-Ossi people about how to stay safe in case of the Ebola virus.

However, Cameroon last year closed its border with Nigeria to stop the virus from penetrating the country and also produced and posted flyers and posters in airports and some strategic zones of the country. Given the high consumption of bush meat in this area, more than 1000 picture sensitization boxes have been produced and distributed nationwide. The country is now constructing an Ebola Isolation treatment center in Yaoundé and has trained 700 expert care givers to be on the alert.

For the Polio Virus, there was a vaccination campaign that was launched by UNICEF representative in Cameroon Madame Félicité Tchinbindat. This campaign was likewise launched in all of the 10 regions of Cameroon with an objective to vaccinate at least 95% of children on the territory in all health districts and inform as many people, 100% if not less than 95%.“ The Minister of Public Health announced to reporters that their objective for 2015 is to see a polio-free Cameroon. That is why; there is a team of more than 5000 men that is carrying out massive vaccination and sensitization campaigns in all the regions of Cameroon.

Article written by:
Israel Bionyi
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Representative of UNICEF in Cameroon Madame Félicité Tchinbindat administering vaccines to children in Kye-Ossi
Representative of UNICEF in Cameroon Madame Félicité Tchinbindat administering vaccines to children in Kye-Ossi
Minister Andre Mama Fouda and Dignitaries of the United Nations System in Cameroon launching the Communications campaign against Ebola and Polio.
Minister Andre Mama Fouda and Dignitaries of the United Nations System in Cameroon launching the Communications campaign against Ebola and Polio.

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