Prospective Milestone of the organization in the Health and Social Domain
In line with our mission to provide Cameroon with leadership among Non Governmental Organizations/Civil Society Organizations in the Public Health domain, COHESODEC employs health specialists, medical doctors, scientists, epidemiologists and also people with expertise in administration and finance, information systems, economics, health statistics as well as emergency preparedness and response.
We seek to coordinate national health stakeholders in Cameroon towards health response in communities;
We do this by:
- Providing leadership in collaboration with the government of Cameroon on matters critical to health and engaging in partnerships where joint action is needed with other stakeholders;
- Shaping the research agenda and stimulating the generation, translation and dissemination of valuable knowledge to vulnerable communities;
- Setting norms and standards in collaboration with the government and promoting/monitoring their implementation;
- Articulating ethical and evidence-based policy options;
- Providing technical support, catalyzing change, and building sustainable institutional capacity response; and
- Monitoring the health situation in Cameroon and assessing health trends.
For each 5-year program of work priority areas are identified where our leadership is most needed.
These are the areas in which we work
COHESODEC’s priority in the area of health systems is moving towards universal health coverage. The organization seeks to work together with policy-makers, national health partners, other civil society organizations, academia and the private sector to support communities to develop, implement and monitor solid national health plans in Cameroon. In addition, COHESODEC supports communities to assure the availability of equitable integrated people-centered health services at an affordable price; facilitate access to affordable, safe and effective health technologies; and to strengthen health information systems and evidence-based policy-making.
Non communicable diseases
Non communicable diseases (NCDs), including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung diseases as well as mental health conditions – together with violence and injuries – are collectively responsible for more than 70% of all deaths nationwide. Eight out of 10 of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries including Cameroon. The consequences of these diseases reach beyond the health sector and solutions require more than a system that prevents and treats these diseases.
Promoting health through the life-course
Promoting good health through the life-course cuts across all work done by COHESODEC and takes into account the need to address environment risks and social determinants of health, as well as gender, equity and human rights. The work COHESODEC does in this biennium has a crucial focus on finishing the agenda of the Millennium Development Goals and reducing disparities between and within communities through the effective implementation of programs and projects in-line with the Sustainable Development Goals-(S.D.G’s)
COHESODEC is working with communities to increase and sustain access to prevention, treatment and care for HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and all neglected tropical diseases and to reduce vaccine-preventable diseases. MDG 6 (combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases) has driven remarkable progress but much work still remains to be done.
Preparedness, Surveillance and Response
During emergencies, COHESODEC’s operational role includes leading and coordinating the health response in support of communities, undertaking risk assessments, identifying priorities and setting strategies, providing critical technical guidance, supplies and financial resources as well as monitoring the health situation. COHESODEC also helps communities to strengthen their community core capacities for emergency risk management to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies due to any hazard that pose a threat to human health security.
Corporate Services to Communities
Corporate services provide the enabling functions, tools and resources that make all of this work possible. For example, corporate services in local communities allow for our legal team advising during the development of national treaties, communications staff helping disseminate health information, human resources bringing in some of the country’s best public health experts or building services providing the space and the tools for around 700 staff to perform their work in each of the 10 regions of Cameroon where COHESODEC works.
COHESODEC: Working for Better Health in Cameroon for everyone;
Good health is a precious thing which no one can deny. When we are healthy we can learn, work, and support ourselves and our families. When we are sick, we struggle, and our families and communities fall behind.
That’s why the Community Health and Social Development for Cameroon-(COHESODEC) is highly needed. Working with over 2000 vulnerable communities across the ten regions of Cameroon, COHESODEC Management and staff are united in a shared commitment to achieve better health for everyone and everywhere in Cameroon.
COHESODEC, Guiding Principle;
The principle that all people in Cameroon should enjoy the highest standard of health, regardless of race, religion, and political belief, economic or social condition has guided COHESODEC’s work throughout the past years;
Over the years, people have come together to reiterate and reinforce this principle —which sets the aspirational goal of health for all by 2030. It remains front and centre today, in the drive for universal health coverage.
From the very beginning, COHESODEC has in collaboration with the state of Cameroon and other stakeholders brought together the country’s top health experts to produce national reference materials and made recommendations to bring better health to people throughout the country especially in vulnerable communities.
These range from the national Classification of Diseases which enables all communities to use a common standard for reporting diseases and identifying health trends for the country. COHESODEC’s work has led to national standards for air and water quality, so important in a country where pollution is an increasing threat to our health; safe and effective vaccines and medicines, thanks to its programs, height and weight charts for children, to guide health professionals and parents in helping young people grow up healthy and strong. It has also led to guidelines and advice on preventing and treating health conditions ranging from asthma and hepatitis to malnutrition.
COHESODEC: Making a difference on the ground in Vulnerable Communities
COHESODEC doesn’t just make recommendations – it helps the government use them to keep more people healthy. For several years now, COHESODEC staffs have worked alongside the government, health professionals on the ground and the global fund to fight these infections. In the early years, there was a strong focus on fighting infectious killer diseases like HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis. COHESODEC seeks to be actively involved in the Expanded Program on Immunization and to enable the effective administration of vaccines to millions of children across Cameroon.
In the last century, access to antibiotics, clean water and improved sanitation became powerful weapons in preventing infectious diseases. A real challenge now is to protect the effectiveness of antibiotics, through a national program to fight antimicrobial resistance, and to ensure that the entire country benefits from safe water and sanitation to prevent infections occurring in the first place. Today, access to clean drinking water and safe sanitation facilities is one of the most obvious examples of the stark divisions between rich and poor in several communities across Cameroon.
COHESODEC’s new national surveillance system to track drug resistance and the national Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership to develop new antibiotics and promote responsible use will safeguard our ability to treat infectious diseases in Cameroon. It should be noted, 63% of Cameroon’s population is covered
by at least one comprehensive tobacco control
measure, such as graphic warnings on cigarette
packs, advertising bans or smoke-free laws.
COHESODEC, Shifting Focus;
In recent decades, Cameroon has seen a rise in non communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart diseases. Driven by forces such as rapid unplanned urbanization, globalization of unhealthy lifestyles and population ageing, these diseases now account for 70% of all deaths in Cameroon. So COHESODEC has shifted focus, along with health authorities in the country, to promote healthy eating, physical exercise and regular health checks.
The Organization has run national health campaigns on the prevention of diabetes and high blood pressure and on healthy cities in Cameroon. It negotiated the COHESODEC Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, a formidable tool to help reduce disease and death caused by tobacco in the country.
But these are not the only forms of non communicable illnesses in Cameroons. Mental health is also a major issue around the country. COHESODEC has helped extend mental health care in more than 35 communities across Cameroon. This is thanks in part to training non specialists and increasing mental health and psychosocial support for people in communities affected by natural disasters and conflict.
At the same time, COHESODEC’s work has ramped up in areas such as violence and injury prevention, highlighting the devastating consequences of maltreatment of children, sexual violence and elder abuse, as well as road traffic accidents and drowning. COHEFSODEC has equally turn it’s attention on several occasions to catering for the needs of people with disabilities, through strengthened rehabilitation services in health programs and better access to assistive technologies to these less privileged persons.
Using data to target our efforts
Tracking progress in all of these areas requires a strong monitoring system. Data collected from communities across the country is stored in and shared through COHESODEC’s National Health Observatory. This powerful tool helps communities get a clear picture of who is falling sick, from which disease, and where, so that efforts can be targeted where they are needed most.
The ability to collect and analyze data has been critical to COHESODEC’s work to improve health through the life-course in communities – from before birth right through to the last years of life. This approach, with its focus on critical periods such as pregnancy, early childhood, and adolescence, emphasizes the importance of getting a healthy start in life, and of making the extra effort to reach people who might otherwise get left behind – all too often, women and girls living in the poorest environments in the country. Malaria deaths dropped significantly by approximately 60%
and tuberculosis deaths by 37% between 2000
and 2015 as a result of expanded prevention,
diagnosis and treatment in the country.
Progress made on many fronts
COHESODEC has much to be proud of;
Nationally, life expectancy has increased by about 10 years since 2010. In 2016, 250,000 fewer children died before they reached their fifth birthday than in 1990, also smallpox has been defeated and polio is on the verge of eradication. Many communities have successfully eliminated measles, malaria and debilitating tropical diseases like dracunculiasis (guinea worm) and lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis), as well as mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.
Bold new recommendations for earlier, simpler treatment, combined with efforts to facilitate access to cheaper generic medicines, have helped 21 million people get life-saving treatment for HIV. The plight of more than 300 million people suffering from chronic hepatitis B and C infections is finally gaining global attention. And innovative partnerships have produced effective vaccines against meningitis and Ebola, and the world’s first ever malaria vaccine.
On constant alert
Every year, COHESODEC studies influenza trends, to work out and propose what should go into the next season’s vaccine. And it remains on constant alert against the threat of pandemic influenza. One hundred years after the flu pandemic of 1918, COHESODEC is determined that the Cameroon should never again be subjected to such a threat to national health security.
In 2015, COHESODEC released updated national Health Regulations, to help the national community prevent and respond to acute public health risks that have the potential to cross borders and threaten people worldwide. The tool is as important today as it has ever been.
COHESODEC’s renewed commitment to prevent outbreaks from turning into epidemics, and to respond better and faster to humanitarian emergencies, has spurred the creation of a new health emergencies program that works across all three levels of the Organization. With a major focus on watching out for early warning signs, and helping communities get prepared and ready at all times to push out such epidemics that may warrant humanitarian emergency responds. COHESODEC is gradually setting up systems nationally to get help where it’s needed and when it’s needed. Recent successes include containment of outbreaks of cholera and yellow fever thereby helping lead major cholera and yellow fever vaccination campaigns across the country.
Working towards the Sustainable Development Goals (S.D.G’s);
Today, COHESODEC works alongside a host of health and development partners to achieve the health-related targets laid out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs underscore the key role health plays in assuring the country’s future, with SDG3 “calling on all stakeholders to “ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages”. And they align totally with COHESODEC’s goal of ensuring that everyone, everywhere in Cameroon, can realize their right to a healthy life. They also stress the importance of collaboration, between different actors working in different fields, in all countries of the world.
With an eye set firmly on 2030, COHESODEC will build on the lessons learnt over years. This experience, plus its networks and partnerships — at global, regional, national and local levels — will be critical to ensuring good health and wellbeing for all in the country.
Giving that all these alone will not be enough, COHESODEC is to further increase its impact on National health, it must step up its work with the highest levels of government to ensure that health is placed firmly on political agendas. It must strengthen leadership in the areas where it adds most value, and streamline the way it does business to work smarter, for quicker results.
The mission, as articulated in COHESODEC’s new General Program of Work (STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN) is to “Promote health, keep the country safe, and serve the vulnerable”. e.t.c. It is also proposing ambitious new targets to be achieved by 2023 and 2030 respectively: 25 million more people benefitting from universal health coverage; 25 million more people better protected from health emergencies; and 25 million more people enjoying better health and wellbeing in the country.
Achieving these goals will require unfailing political and financial commitment, from Partners and donors around the world, and continued expanded collaboration with colleagues from academia, partners on the ground in target communities, and other UN implementing agencies.
Success will be driven by a shared commitment, as deep now as ever before, to build a country and by extension a world where all people, everywhere, have access to quality and affordable health care. Our guiding principle of health for all remains as relevant now as it was when our Organization was founded to tackle these life challenging health and social issues.
Populations around the country are rapidly ageing out;
Ageing presents both challenges and opportunities. It will increase demand for primary health care and long-term care, require a larger and better trained workforce and intensify the need for environments to be made more age-friendly. Yet, these investments can enable the many contributions of older people – whether it be within their family, to their local community (e.g. as volunteers or within the formal or informal workforce) or to society more broadly.
Societies that adapt to this changing demographics and invest in Healthy Ageing can enable individuals to live both longer and healthier lives and for societies to reap the dividends.
There are however, Priorities which provides the concrete actions that are needed to achieve the objectives of COHESODEC global strategy and action plan on ageing and health. Each priority is crucial to enable the country to take on a decade of concerted action on Healthy Ageing (2020-2030). Many are inextricably linked and all will require collaboration with many key partners around the world. Healthy Ageing will not become a reality without focused global action, and COHESODEC priorities provide the path forward.
Our Areas of Work in the Ageing Domain
The Department of Ageing and Life Course of COHESODEC organizes its work according to the 5 strategic priority areas identified in the global strategy and action plan on ageing and health 2016-2025. These strategic priorities include the following;
–Commit to action
-Health systems that meet the needs of older people
-Long term care systems
-Data and Research
Since it was first adopted in 2016, the global strategy and action plan on ageing and health, COHESODEC has collected data on the indicators in the 10 regions of the country. This information was used to develop a mid-term progress report.
15 June 2018 – is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Elder abuse is everywhere – one in six older people have experienced abuse in the last year. When older people live in institutions like long-term care homes, the problem can be much worse. Sadly, there is still much unknown about what works to prevent or manage abuse. WHO advocates for awareness and knowledge on elder abuse and directly supports research. COHESODEC also supports the government in developing policies to address elder abuse.
COHESODEC has been betting on a number of issues and picking ambitious goals that impact the country we live since forty years ago. We see most of them happening. We in COHESODEC hope to see an end to diseases like elephantiasis, river blindness, and blinding trachoma, which disable tens of millions of people in poor countries like Cameroon”.
Strategic Options and Alternative Treatment Strategies for Accelerating Onchocerciasis Elimination in Cameroon;
Elimination by 2025 requires that the criteria for stopping treatment are met latest in 2022 to allow for the confirmation of elimination three years later. To achieve elimination of onchocerciasis in at least 80% of onchocerciasis endemic country like Cameroon by 2025, the reduction in transmission has to be accelerated in areas in Cameroon for which currently available data suggest that the criteria for stopping CDTI will not be reached by 2022.
Acceleration of the reduction in transmission can be achieved either by improving the implementation of annual CDTI, notably increasing CDTI treatment coverage, or by using alternative treatment strategies (ATS) where CDTI cannot be implemented effectively (in particular in areas co-endemic for loiasis), or CDTI effectiveness is considered sub-optimal.
Air Pollution in Cameroon
Recent statistics in the world and by extension-Cameroon indicates that 9 in every 10 persons breathe polluted air. 2 May 2018, Geneva confirms – Air pollution levels remain at dangerously high levels in many parts of the world. New data reveals that 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. like black carbon which penetrate deep into the lungs and cardiovascular system.
COHESODEC estimates that around 700,000 people in Cameroon die every year from exposure to fine particles in polluted air that lead to diseases such as stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and respiratory infections, including pneumonia.
Chronic respiratory diseases (CRDs) are diseases of the airways and other structures of the lung. Some of the most common are chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), such as asthma, occupational lung diseases and pulmonary hypertension. In addition to tobacco smoke, other risk factors include air pollution, occupational chemicals and dusts, and frequent lower respiratory infections during childhood. CRDs are not curable; however, various forms of treatment that helps dilate major air passages and improve shortness of breath can help control symptoms and increase the quality of life for people with the disease. COHESODEC Cameroon has a vision of a world in which all people breathe freely, and focuses in particular on the needs of people with CRDs in Cameroon.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) take the lives of 17.7 million people globally every year, 31% of all global deaths. Triggering these diseases are tobacco smoking, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and the harmful use of alcohol. These in turn show up in people as raised blood pressure, elevated blood glucose and overweight and obesity. COHESODEC is supporting local communities to scale-up efforts on CVD prevention and control through tobacco control, ensure salt reduction and HEARTS for strengthening CVD management in primary health care units in local communities. Health workers are being trained by COHESODEC to better deliver tested and affordable measures to protect people from CVDs and help them recover following a heart attack or stroke. – This resolve to Save Lives – will give renewed impetus to these efforts.
Cancer Prevention and Treatment
International Childhood Cancer Day is celebrated annually on the 15th February every year to raise awareness and to express support for children and adolescents with cancer, survivors and their families.
Each year, approximately 300,000 children are diagnosed with cancer – a disease that touches countless families and communities in all regions of the world. With access to quality care, more than 80% of children with cancer can survive, living full and healthy lives. However, many children in low-income and middle income countries like Cameroon do not receive or complete care, and, as a result, over 90% of childhood cancer deaths occur in low resource settings.
In Cameroon, a response is needed to give every child the best chance of surviving cancer free – to raise awareness, improve access, better understand why and where children are diagnosed with cancer through cancer registries, and offer the best possible treatment, palliative care and support for children and their families. COHESODEC has highlighted the importance of diagnosing childhood cancer early and improving access to treatment for children and adolescents with cancer. The role of COHESODEC in the fight against Cancer in Cameroon cannot be overemphasized.
Cost effectiveness and strategic planning
COHESODEC team works with policy makers in Cameroon, providing information on cost-effectiveness, costs and strategic planning which can help guide policy decisions. We assist communities to ensure that money spent on health is allocated in a way that the greatest possible health outcomes are achieved in the most feasible manner. We also collaborate with international agencies contributing to resource allocation decisions.
The Generalized Cost-Effectiveness component of COHESODEC is interested in identifying health care interventions that provide the greatest value for money – the largest health gain for each dollar spent on health.
The Health Tool is also used to help communities to examine the costs and feasibility of their strategic plans, as well as to evaluate the potential impact of the plan.
COHESODEC data and methodology has been used in the calculation of “National Price Tags”, estimating resource requirements for scaling up health care interventions for specific disease areas across Cameroon.
COHESODEC supports the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to analyze physical accessibility to health services, linking the results to national planning and costing processes, and policy discussions on how to optimize investments in the health system.
Recognizing that the consequences of disease and injury reach beyond health, COHESODEC provides guidance and a framework for evaluating the economic consequences of disease and injury.
Communicating For Health
Framework for Effective Communications
COHESODEC recognizes that effective, integrated and coordinated communication is integral to carrying out COHESODEC’s goal to build a better, healthier future for people all over the world. This is a Framework for effectively communicating COHESODEC information, advice and guidance across the broad range of health issues: from chronic health issues to emerging and novel risks.
Our Purpose of Communication for Health
COHESODEC has made a significant investment to meet the growing need for information, advice and guidance, from increasing capacity to improved integration of available communication channels including media relations, social and online communications, branding, visual communications, and health and emergency risk communications. COHESODEC needs all employees to understand and use communications effectively to achieve programmatic goals.
This strategic approach is presented as a framework of principles for effective practice that apply to a broad range of communication functions. It reflects inputs and review by COHESODEC communicators across Cameroon. Tactics and easy-to-use resources are included to develop communication products and activities that apply the principles. If these tactics and resources are used, communication at all levels of the Organization can be improved.
The Framework is not designed to narrowly focus on strategies unique to diseases, specific health observances, or geographic regions. Instead, the principles, tactics, and resources, can be used by communicators to develop specific regional, disease-focused, or events-based strategies to be more actionable, accessible, relevant, timely, understandable, and credible. It is a resource and reference, designed for continuous updates and additions as advised proposed by all COHESODEC staff involved in communications.
Contracting and performance incentives/Contractual arrangements in health systems
Improving the effectiveness of health financing system, and health systems more generally by multinational corporations and donors, is an essential objective of health policy. Health-system reforms in developing countries like Cameroon have generally entailed institutional reshufflings which have led to multiplication, diversification and occasionally specialization of the actors involved in health, whether in the public, private or voluntary sectors.
The isolation that often characterized traditional health actors has become impossible to sustain. In addition, as new independent or autonomous actors come on stage, it becomes less easy to rely on hierarchical authority. This compels health actors to reconsider their relations. The relationships they develop may be based on consultation; however, there are limits to this moral commitment. It is increasingly common for such relations to be based on contractual arrangements, which formalize agreements between actors, who accept mutually-binding commitments.