The US Ambassador to Cameroon, H. E. Peter Henry Barlerin has hailed the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services’ efforts in HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment in the Cameroon and has described as satisfactory the positive impacts of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, PEPEFAR sponsored HIV Free Project in the North West Region.
The US Diplomat made the appreciation while on his maiden visit to Bamenda on April 25, 2018 to appraise the impact of US government funding through PEPEFAR on the lives of men, women and children living with HIV.
“What you all are doing with orphans and vulnerable children and with people living with HIV/AIDS is a type of emotional Anti Retroviral treatment and I really think that is almost as important as the drugs to reduce viral load because it gives people hope as they longer look at themselves as sub humans or no longer important in society” he observed.
After visiting the treatment center at the Bamenda Regional Hospital, the Nkwen Baptist Health Center and the special exhibition stands by the Support Groups and satisfied by the impact of the project, H. E. Peter Henry Barlerin promised his government’s continuous support to the CBCHS’ commitment to “helping Cameroon overcome the scorch of HIV/AIDS and other parts of sub-Saharan Africa.”
The support groups exhibited detergents, body lotions, hair oil, mushroom, soya beans milk, dresses and home articles which the members sale to finance their treatment and also get some basic needs.
The CBCHS currently runs 168 adult support groups, 29 Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV Support Groups and 19 children Support Groups in four regions.
In his remarks, the Director of CBC Health Services, Prof. Pius Tih Muffih, noted that PEPFAR funding is facilitating access to life saving HIV and AIDS services to men women and children and the key population in the four PEPFAR Regions.
He observed with satisfaction that averagely in all the four focused regions, mother to child transmission of HIV has dropped from above 9% in 2011 to under 3% in 2017 and that HIV prevalence rate has also dropped from over 6% in 2011 to around 4% in 2017.
Prof. Pius Tih added that there are 172,595 clients regularly on Antiretroviral Treatment drugs at the PEPFAR projects sites in the NW, SW, Center and Littoral regions.
“Our hearts are filled with happiness and the desire to collaborate more with you so that together we can help the people of Cameroon reach the UNAIDS vision 2020 that 90 percent of all HIV positive people should know their HIV status and that 90 percent of those who are HIV Positive be placed on treatment, and of all who are on treatment, 90 percent of them should have viral suppression” he said.
The HIV Free Project started in 2011 in the North West and South regions with full PEPFAR funding and eventually expanded to the Littoral and Centre regions in 2015 and has continued to chart a way forward for HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment in the country.