Cameroon currently has the second-highest HIV (Human Immune Virus) prevalence in West and Central Africa. The country had 5.3% prevalence in 2004 which later dropped to 3.4% in 2018 due to several programs and projects implemented at the regional and national levels. The Northwest Region alone has an HIV burden of 5.1% with women shouldering much of the burden. This was revealed by Prof. Tih Pius Muffih of CBC Health Service and, Principal Investigator of the HIV-Free Project Cameroon, at the launch of the new phase of the HIV-Free Northwest Project, on October 24th 2019, at the conference hall of the Northwest regional fund for health.
According to Prof Tih Pius, the HIV free project will focus on providing complimentary services to persons living with HIV. This phase of the HIV-Free Northwest Project under the Country Operational Plan (COP19) is funded by the US President’s emergency fund for AIDS Relief through the center for disease control prevention. The project coordinator also stated that the project will expand access to comprehensive facilities and communities, high quality and sustainable HIV and AIDS prevention. The project will also support the activities of the national AIDS control program in the Northwest region.
“I count on the leadership and support of the ministry of health, key stakeholders at all levels to implement the planned activities of the HIV free project in the Northwest region. Every health care provider should work in a concerted way in the region. This project is one for the entire region and everyone should be a part; so that we can reach epidemic control,” He said.
While launching the COP19, Northwest Regional Delegate of Public Health, Dr. Kingsley Che Soh said they rely on the resources and experience of the Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) Health Services to lessen the burden of HIV on the population. He further called on health providers to respect the uniform guiding principles in the HIV response. “We have to respect one agreed national action framework for coordinating all activities of implementing partners, one national AIDS coordinating authority and one agreed on country-level monitoring and evaluation,” he noted.
Dr. Albert Bako, Technical Director says the project’s principal goal is to expand access to comprehensive HIV/AIDS care and treatment, and TB (tuberculosis) prevention services to clients in a bid to reach epidemic control by the end of COP20. “For this to be achieved we need to identify and place over 30,000 new PLHIV on treatment,” he added.
The Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) Health Services is the lone national (local) organization retained as implementing partner of COP19 under PEPFAR’s new decision to scale up the HIV-Free Project to all 10 regions of Cameron. The country has been structured into four strategic zones. The Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) Health Services will be supporting three regions; West, Northwest, and Southwest.
Maikem Emmanuela Kimah-Manzie