Persons with disabilities, PWDs, were at the center of attraction through their massive participation and brilliant performance at a Marathon Race organized by the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services, CBCHS in Bamenda on December 1 to commemorate the 2016 edition of World Aids Day
The Marathon Race with a special inclusive component was organized in view of raising awareness to the fact that both PWDs and persons without disabilities are vulnerable to HIV and therefore appropriate inclusive measures should be put in place to combat the disease in all groups of the society.
Apart from the first group of runners aged 18-40 years for men and 18-30 that and for women who ran from Ndop to the Bamenda Commercial Avenue and the second group made up of those aged 41-61 years for men and 31-50 years for women who ran from Babanki Tungo door market to Commercial Avenue Bamenda there was a special group for persons with disabilities who took off from various points depending on their different categories of impairments.
As part of its continuous efforts to promote the inclusion of PWDs in all mainstream activities, the CBCHS put in place measures to ensure the participation of PWDs in the race.
Special provisions were made for the participation of PWDs in the following categories: Visual Impairments; Hearing Impairments; Tricycle Users; and Intellectual Impairments. These various categories of impairments did the race alongside persons without disabilities.
Those with hearing impairments took off from Bambui Three Corners, those with visual impairments took off from Mile Three Junction, while tricycle users and intellectual impairments started the race at Farmers’ House Mile Three, Nkwen and Mobile Nkwen respectively.
Some of the PWDs who distinguished themselves in the race in their different categories included Nde Vitalis, Kum Nji Tangeh and Tafah Simon, who were respectively, 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the visual impairment category, and Tangem Joel, Ndam Richard and Fru Denis who came 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the Tricycle Users category, amongst others, in the other impairment categories.
For the full race of 42.195km in the female category, Nkangebi Confidence came first after 3 hours 20 minutes; Gwaya Yvonne was second, doing the race in 3 hours 23 minutes, while Ngalim Lizette was third, covering the distance in 3 hours 25 minutes. In the male category, Oumarou Mohamadu came 1st after 2 hours 42 minutes; Mbacha Eric was 2nd taking 2 hours 45 minutes; and Lyonga Essambe was 3rd in 2 hours 46 minutes. Meanwhile all the athletes smiled home with financial packages depending on their performance in the marathon race.
In a speech during the event, the Coordinator for Regional Technical Group for AIDS, Control and Prevention for the North West, Dr Gladys Tayong, hailed the CBCHS for its enormous strides in the fight against HIV/AIDS while encouraging the entire population to do their HIV test. “Treatment for HIV is free”, she observed.
Prof Tih Pius, Director of the CBCHS on his part, and amongst other things, noted that HIV prevalence in pregnant women has dropped. He also noted that mother to child transmission has also dropped. He encouraged everyone to get tested for HIV. “None should be left behind,” Prof Tih stressed.
By Njodzefe Nestor