The Social Vaccine programme of the First Lady of Cameroon was at the locality of Ombessa and Bafia in the Mbam and Inoubou Division over the weekend.
Authorities and traditional rulers from the Mbam and Inoubou Division says their indigenes, popularly known as the “Mbamois” need to restraint or completely bar the way for HIV, STIs in the locality. The call was made last Friday May 17, 2019 at the Bafia ceremonial ground during an event to officially launch the sensitisation campaign against HIV/STIs, dubbed “Social Vaccine Programme”, by the Governor of the Centre Region, Naseri Paul Bea. It was a crowd pulling event which also saw the inauguration of two Multimedia and Video HIV Conference Centres at the Ombessa Council building and at the Bafia Women’s Empowerment Centre.
Both centres, which are gifts from the First Lady of Cameroon, Chantal Biya, are equipped with computers, video camaras and other ICT tools destined to enable the entire community to learn more about HIV/STIs and also for researchers to disseminate information on the fight against HIV/STIs in the division whose HIV prevalence rate stood at 7.9 per cent last year, more than the national HIV prevalence rate. Governor Naseri Paul Bea, on behalf of the population in the Mbam and Inoubou Division, thanked the First Lady for making sure that the Mbamois are edified against the deadly pandemic.
He urged the population not to end at what they have learned from the social vaccine programme, but should put it into practice because they will be killing themselves by not practising what they have learned against HIV. As the governor installed the committee members in charge of running the multimedia centres, he told them not to transform the computers for their personal use but to make them available for use by any person who wants to use it.
Naseri Paul Bea also called on the population to massively adhere to the campaign in a bid to change their behaviour because the fight against HIV is a collective one. The mayor of Bafia, Max Nwatsock and an elite, James Onobiono, as well as members of the educational community, took turns to thank the First Lady for the HIV sensitisation caravan. They stressed the need for prevention which is better than cure, and underscored that abstinence and fidelity were the best methods for the mbamois to fight HIV/ STIs.
The centres, according to the General Supervisor of the Social Vaccine Programme, Professor Alexis Ndjolo, who is also Director General of the International Reference Centre “Chantal Biya” for Research on the Prevention and Management of HIV/AIDS (CIRCB), has created a window between the programme and the entire world particularly Africa. He added that in the absence of medical vaccine to prevent HIV, the First Lady has come up with the use of sexuality education known as ‘social vaccine’.
As such, he called for the implementation and strengthening of comprehensive sexuality education and the promotion of sexual and reproductive health services, including prevention of HIV and STIs in schools and the community as well. The centres, Prof Ndjolo said are of upmost importance to pupils in the division because their teachers will carry out research on basic HIV/STI knowledge, collect research results coming directly from CIRCB before disseminating to pupils and the population in general.
Books distributed with the programme to different authorities in the locality contain ideas that will be used in the different classrooms to help pupils curb HIV/STIs. Some of the directives to pupils in the books include: avoid shape and blunt dangerous objects; refuse gifts from strangers because those offering such items may have secondary motives
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