AIDS-Free-Holiday Caravan in New Bell
Youths are being advised on ways of also preventing malaria, diabetes, cancer and how to ensure a healthy environment besides free HIV/AIDS screening.
Several youths are embracing HIV/AIDS screening thanks to the on-going 10th edition of the annual Jean Stéphane Biatcha Football Peace Tournament. They are being lectured on how best to overcome risks of contracting HIV/AIDS and prevent malaria, diabetes and cancer while maintaining a healthy environment.
Gathered recently at the Douala II Council hall in New Bell, the youths received awareness-raising and sensitisation messages from health experts charged with the AIDS-Free-Holiday, voluntarily responded to free HIV/AIDS screening. Participants were encouraged to abstain from sexual intercourse, avoid exchanging objects like razor blades, needles, and shaving blades. Methods of using condoms were also explained. Those found to be sero-positive will throughout life receive free antiretroviral treatments.
The campaign, led by the First Lady, Chantal Biya, witnessed the presence of the African Synergy for the Fight against HIV/AIDS and Suffering represented by Jean Stéphane Biatcha and Noel Emmanuel Essomba of the National AIDS Control Committee in the Littoral with the strong collaboration of Denise Fampou, Mayor of the Douala II Council.
With a prevalence rate of 2.6 per cent, the pandemic still holds a firm grip on youth and women of between 15 and 35 years in the Littoral Region. Such a figure for just one region is significant, compared to the 3.9 per cent prevalence in the country—reason for the campaign.
As concerns cancer, despite the fact that 80 per cent of Cameroonians go for cancer consultations and continued awareness-raising were shown to be an effective remedy. Between 2013 and 2015, over 11,300 people consulted for cancer of the breast, prostate and cervix with an increasing trend within the framework of campaigns by the Michael & Mauritia Patcha Foundation in Douala. Over 18 per cent of women suffer from breast cancer in Cameroon. Women of over 55 years are said to be the most vulnerable. The public was advised to conduct a Breast Self-Exam (BSE) monthly for those at age 18, yearly mammogram from age 40, regular pap smears and cervical exams from age 21, as well as talk with a medical doctor. Prevention messages were also disseminated as concerns malaria, diabetes and environment.