Positive-Generation talking with the UNESCO Club at the University of Yaounde. Photo: Positive-Generation
Our guest blogger today is Fogué Foguito, Executive Director of Positive-Generation in Cameroon. The organization won the ONE Africa Award of $100,000 in 2012. Applications are now open for the 2013 awards.
Since winning the ONE Africa Award in 2012, we have been able to grow our activities and reach many more people living with HIV/AIDS across Cameroon. Our vision is a society with equal access to health care, delivered without discrimination and with respect for human dignity. As well as delivering prevention and psychosocial care, we provide education on behavioral change and on living positively with HIV.
Winning the ONE Africa Award has increased our visibility and credibility both nationally and internationally. It has enabled us to develop existing projects and implement new activities as well. These are just some of the things we delivered in the first half of 2013.
Treatment Access Watch
Treatment Access Watch is a tool to monitor access to health care in Cameroon. Each health unit has sentinels and observers who collect and submit data on access to health care, which is used to support our advocacy. We trained 20 new sentinels and 20 new observers, increasing the number of centers monitored from 65 to 85, which is 80 percent of all health care centers in Cameroon.
The data was used to conduct an appraisal of health care in Cameroon, revealing recurring shortages. Approximately 33.6 percent of the health units monitored had a shortage of patient follow-up tests, while 13.3 percent had a shortage of ARVs. As a result, Positive-Generation launched a platform to help civil society organizations study and identify sustainable avenues to healthcare finance.
One-hundred people from 50 organisations from the 10 regions of the country came together with development partners (WHO, UNAIDS, UNICEF, UNDP, GIZ…) to discuss the issue in a one-day conference. The recommendations were used by the Ministry of Public Health to organize a national conference on the financing of HIV/AIDS in Cameroon.
Influencing the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals
As part of the national conferences launched by the United Nations to enable people from poor countries to have their say in what the next set of anti-poverty goals should be, Positive-Generation joined with other civil society organizations to hold four conferences in April and May 2013.
People from communities often marginalized from development issues has the chance to assess achievements related to the MDGs and make proposals for the post-MDG era. Approximately 200 organizations and 200 government stakeholders were consulted, with health, education and employment emerging as priorities, underpinned by cross-cutting issues of human rights, good governance and gender. The conference report was circulated at a national level and sent to the United Nations as Cameroon’s contribution.
Care and treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS
We have been able to hire a psychologist to provide support to people living with HIV/AIDS, reaching over 100 patients already. Patients have also been supported in monitoring their treatment with 15 viral load tests, 50 CD4 count tests and 25 follow-up tests for patients living with HIV/AIDS.
The Positive-Generation Legal Clinic supports people who have experienced an infringement of their rights within the health care system. This includes discrimination, stigmatisation or breaches of patient confidentiality. The clinic saw a 100 percent increase in its activities and a legal assistant was hired to work alongside the clinic’s legal advisor. The clinic has already provided legal assistance to 15 HIV-positive people whose rights had been infringed. Five have already won their cases, and 10 are pending.
Youth TB and Malaria Prevention Program
Positive-Generation believes the fight against diseases like TB and malaria needs to start at the grassroots. Youth health clubs were formed in 10 schools, with guidance from young Positive-Generation facilitators. 250 educational talks were organised and more than 2,500 students sensitised.
Education and outreach
“Le Communautaire” is a bilingual monthly paper with information on HIV and related illnesses, with 3500 printed copies circulated in the 10 regions of the country, especially rural areas where access to media and information technologies is limited. Our January and February issues focused on HIV-related opportunistic diseases and prevention of STIs and HIV in schools.
Three radio programs were organized on World Tuberculosis Day and two others on World Malaria Day. A new agreement with Radio Health International (RHI) means Positive-Generation have a regular slot on air to talk about HIV, malaria, hepatitis, tuberculosis and more. These interactive programs allow listeners to ask questions to the Positive-Generation expert.
Our drama group took part in the Candlelight Memorial 2013, performing two plays on the subjects of discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS and proper use of condoms, reaching around 500 people.
If you know an African organization working to improve the lives of people affected by poverty, tell them about the ONE Africa Award and encourage them to apply before the deadline on 19 August 2013.