The Socio-Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities SEEPD program of the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services CBCHS has for the last eight years (2009-2017) enabled 624, 035 persons living with disabilities PWDs accessed medical services either to treat, prevent or rehabilitate their disability. The uncommon statistics were made public Tuesday February 6, in Bamenda during an event to present findings from an evaluation mission by the program funding partner CBM Australia. 
SEEPD evaluation
 The evaluation team of five led by the Senior Advisor-Program Quality of CBM Australia Julie Smith during the ten days evaluation mission had as objective to measure the degree to which the program has improve the wellbeing of PWDs by promoting inclusion in the Northwest region2015-2018 from .
Presenting the findings, the team revealed that of the over 600 thousand who accessed medical services, 349, 460 of them that’s about 56% accessed medical care for the first time with 41, 589 being PWDs.
Julie Smith’s led team also revealed that for the period under review 1045children living with different forms of disabilities have been enrolled in school though about 37/15 percent of them will drop out at primary and secondary school respectively.
The facts finding mission also noticed with satisfaction that the SEEPD program has reached out to 314 villages, 182 associations of PWDs with 5445 members and in the last two years 5279 with disabilities registered in the Community based rehabilitation program CBR and 1342 following an ongoing rehabilitation plan.
So far, 15 councils, 16 churches and five mosques are supporting inclusion via the adoption of inclusive practices with 121 community volunteers active though only 43 receive stipends from the councils.
Following micro credits given PWDs the evaluation report said 573 (42%) are gainfully involved in business while 67 have gotten formal jobs.
These statistics the evaluation team confirmed marched the program components of Medical care and rehabilitation, Education in inclusive setting, accessibility to Livelihood opportunities, Community and family participation in disability prevention, Gender and safeguarding as presented during the session by Awa Jacque Chirac SEEPD program Manager.
It was however recommended that the SEEPD program should think about those who are most vulnerable or have the most severe impairment specifically those who can’t get to meetings by building the strength of local associations of PWDS, build on the spirit of volunteerism by working with churches, community associations. Other stakeholders were reminded that it is everyone’s responsibility in looking out for PWDS.
“Over the years we have enjoyed the partnership of the Australian Government that is partnering with us in forming this. We want to appreciate them and to say a lot has been done and there is still a lot to be done here in Cameroon.” Prof Tih Pius Muffih Director of CBC Health Services said adding that “Our objectives were met according to us but we are waiting for the external evaluation which has just been done so that they with the eye of an outsider say whether we actually arrived to say our objectives were met but for all we set out to do we believe that we met the objectives of the project.”
On her part the Senior Advisor-Program Quality of CBM Australia Julie Smith who led the evaluation said “I am sure if I came here ten years ago and looked around communities for persons with disabilities I wouldn’t see them but as a result of the SEEPD program and the work that both CBC and other Organizations are doing now we have children with disability in schools, we have so many people who didn’t have accessed to healthcare now wit accessed to healthcare or assistive devices like wheelchairs, we have people with disabilities earning money for themselves and we have such strong people with disability advocating in their communities. We also got councils, parents associations, schools also doing a whole lot of work trying to think about how we change attitudes… so I have been very impressed with the work they are doing here.” She also reassured the CBCHS of her institution’s readiness to continue supporting for more work to be done.
Derick BAKAH

Derick BAKAH

Bakah Derick is a Broadcast Presenter and Multimedia specialist with focus on sharing with the rest of the world the daily happenings in the Northwest Region of Cameroon. You can contact us on +237 675460750 or debakah2004@gmail.com.

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