US Embassy in Cameroon, CBC, CBCHS, US in Cameroon, HIV AIDS in Cameroon

The Support Group Programme of the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Service CBCHS in the fight against HIV/AIDS has emerged as an outstanding initiative that inspires hope for person living with the disease in some four regions of Cameroon.
Following facts and figures presented as a result of the project, the US Ambassador to Cameroon has maintained his country’s commitment to continue the partnership with the CBCHS in the fight against HIV/AIDS. 
US Ambassador and CBCHS Director walk of hope
 The United States Ambassador to Cameroon has affirmed that his country will continue to work with the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Service CBCHS in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Cameroon. Henry Peter Barlerin was speaking on Wednesday April 25 at the Nkwen Baptist Center Bamenda during his visit to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief PEPEFAR sponsored HIV Free Project in the North West Region. 

While meeting with children, women and men living with HIV for whom the project is intended, the US diplomat also met with CBCHS authorities who have so far been running some 168 mixed adult Support Groups, 26 Prevention of Mother-To-Child-Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV Support Groups and 19 children Support Groups in four regions of Cameroon established since the year 2000. 
CBCHS Communication present visibility efforts in the HIV Free Project

While visiting the treatment center at the Bamenda Regional Hospital, the Nkwen Baptist Health Center and the special exhibition by the Support Groups, the Ambassador observed firsthand the state of facilities and small businesses now operated by the Support Groups with products such as detergents, body lotions, hair oil, mushroom, soya beans milk, dresses and home articles which the members sale to finance the treatment and also get some basic needs.
Started in 2011 in the North West and South West Regions before expanding to the Littoral and center regions in 2015 with full funding from PEPFAR, the Director of CBCHS says the project has been to “chart the way forward for HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment in the country. PEPFAR funding Prof Tih Pius Muffih adds “is facilitating access to life-saving HIV and AIDS services to men, women, children and key populations in the four PEPFAR regions.” 

The CBCHS top executive in presenting the results of the project to his guest stated “on an average for all the four focused regions, mother to child transmission of HIV has dropped from above 9% in 2011 to under 3% in the 2017 and the HIV prevalence rate has also dropped from over 6% in 2011 to around 4% in 2017” emphasising that the data was from those tested at the project sites. 
The Partnership decor that welcomed US Ambassador to the Nkwen Baptist Heath Center 

With 172,595 clients regularly on Antiretroviral Treatment ART drugs at the PEPFAR projects sites in the NW, SW, Center and Littoral regions, Prof Tih appealed for more support from the US government so as to “help the people of Cameroon reach the USAIDs vision 2020 that 90% of all HIV positive people should know their HIV status and that 90% of those who are HIV positive be on treatment and of all who are on treatment, 90% of them should have viral suppression.”
In what looked like an instance response, the US Ambassador said “I visited the reference hospital in Bamenda and following that I came to the Cameroon Baptist Convention Hospital and visited that hospital. I am very impressed with the partnership and the level of cooperation that we have from both institutions and from the government of the Republic of Cameroon in the fight against HIV/AIDS. I assure u that the United States Government is going to remain committed to helping Cameroon overcome the scorch of HIV/AIDS and other parts of sub-Saharan Africa.” 
Prof Tih Pius celebrates assurance to continue with project
 Describing the maiden visit of the US diplomat as additional impetus CBCHS Director noted with confidence that “funding is going to continue in the years ahead; this is very promising and helpful to the Cameroonian Government because PEPFAR works in four regions of Cameroon in the Center and Littoral which you know are the biggest regions in Cameroon and with this funding we can cover about 80% of all people leaving with HIV in Cameroon.” Prof rated the impact of the visit as “highly felt” since it represents a promise that the US government is going to continue to fund HIV and AIDS activities in Cameroon and probably with God’s blessings it may externd to other regions.” 
Dances that welcome HE Henry Barlerin into the CBCHS
 With experience in the fight against HIV in Cameroon especially in the prevention of Mother to Child Transmission dating as far back as 1999, the CBCHS Support Group Programme has helped persons living with HIV and AIDS to overcome stigma and discrimination reason why many could be seen carrying out public activities during the visit of the Ambassador.
CBCHS sources say as many have stayed on treatment so too have they been accessing viral load testing since the Support Groups are now acting as Antiretroviral drug distribution points to ensure treatment adherence with members being resource persons, sources of inspiration just like building self-esteem for those who had given up on life after knowing their status.  
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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