The Long Journey to Free Treatment

Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)
April 27, 2007
Posted to the web April 27, 2007

By Brenda Yufeh

The cost of antiretroviral drugs has moved from CFA 600,000 in 2001 to zero francs from the Ist of May, 2007.

The path might have been long and difficult, but the government of Cameroon finally reached the point. That is, bringing the cost of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs from CFA 600,000 in 2001 to Zero francs from May 1st, this year. “We are coming from far”, the Minister of Public Health, Urbain Olanguena Awono notes.

The long journey towards free antiretroviral drugs has not been easy. Authorities at the Ministry of Public Health say in the ministry’s first strategic plan of 2000-2005, the government in 2001 adopted the initiative “Access to Treatment” which essentially aimed at reducing the price of HIV/AIDS treatment thanks to the commitment of big scientific laboratories. Because of government’s commitment, the result of the “Access to Treatment” initiative was the reduction of HIV treatment to about 1/3. That is to about CFA 370,000. In 2002, following discussions between the government and pharmaceutical firms that produce antiretroviral drugs, Cameroon step down prices to between CFA 70,000 to 100,000 per month and per patient, for first line and second line treatment respectively.

Within government’s policy of introducing generic drugs and continuous subventions from the government, the cost of ARV later dropped again to between CFA 22,000 to 68,000. Government’s policy of direct subvention on ARV brought the price schedule of ARV to a minimum cost ranging between CFA 15,000 to 18,000 for first and second line treatment per month and for a patient. In 2003, the World Bank accepted to subsidise 50 per cent of the HIV treatment, in addition to government’s subvention. In 2004-2005, the Minister of Public Health laid down the subsidized package of clinical laboratory examinations for persons living with HIV/AIDS at CFA 3,000, with those for pregnant women being free. From 2006 to April 31st, 2007, the cost of ARV remained between CFA 3,000 to 7,000 for first and second line treatment respectively.

Within the framework of the global commitment to ensure universal access of people living with HIV/AIDS to antiretroviral treatment, from May 1, 2007, the government of Cameroon will offer free access to antiretroviral treatment for all people living with HIV/AIDS eligible for this type of treatment and also drugs for opportunistic infections. Second line treatment for HIV/AIDS patients is also free as the Ministry of Public Health is also receiving these drugs free of charge from UNITAID, (the New International Drug Purchase Facility), since Cameroon signed a convention with the Clinton Foundation to get the second-line drugs free of charge. The second-line drugs are being used by HIV/AIDS patients when there is some resistance to the first-line treatment.

HIV screening test has also being harmonised through a circular signed by the Minister of Public Health on September 1st, 2006. HIV screening test for all pregnant women and children from 0-15 years is free. For the rest of the population, the cost of HIV test stands at CFA 500 in all private or public HIV screening units. Before now, the cost of HIV screening in Cameroon ranged between CFA 1,000 to 8,000 depending on the institution where the test is carried out.

Copyright © 2007 Cameroon Tribune.

Bishop George Nkuo ordains his first priests

By Livinus Tal Bam

KboordmainSeven months after his Episcopal Ordination, Bishop George Nkuo of Kumbo, has ordained his first priests and has expressed profound spiritual joy for this first privilege in his pastoral ministry. He ordained seven priests on April 12 to continue the fruitful work of the Church that is in Kumbo Diocese.

He places the newly ordained priests into the hands of Mary Mother of Christ, to be inspired and guided, to confide in her and be looked after as she did to John the beloved disciple. Of the seven priests ordained into the sacred priesthood last April 12, 2007 in the St. Theresia’s Cathedral in Kumbo, six of them are Capuchin Friars. The newly ordained priests include Rev. Gerald Jumbam Nyuykongmo as the lone candidate of Diocesan Priest, Kerla Cyril, Ketema Belete, Pascal Fomonyuy Tatah, Peter Tar Fonyuy, Temesgen Woldu Musa and Br. Wirkom Donatus. Considering that the Capuchins are 25 years old in Cameroon and particularly in the Diocese of Kumbo, who would be celebrating their Silver Jubilee the following day after the ordination in Shisong, Bishop George acknowledged that it was right and fitting for the capuchins to carry the lion’s share of the ordination candidates this year.

To him, it is a wonderful and symbolic jubilee gift from God to the capuchin community to welcome six young brothers into the sacred priesthood. With Gerald as the lone candidate for the Diocese of Kumbo, the bishop said there is no need to complain of a poor harvest because the year was the Capuchins’. While seeing the moment of ordination as one which the newly ordained had long and anxiously waited for, he reminded them that amidst the striking moment of joy, they are chosen by Christ to be his co-workers. He described it as a wonderful moment in the life of mankind as sinful man is being endowed with divine power, for which a human being cannot sufficiently thank God for. Talking about the participants at the ordination ceremony, the occasion offers them a touching faith experience for they feel something very special happening, such that God touches the ordained in a way as to pass onto them some tremendous invisible divine power.

Continuing with the newly ordained priests, His Lordship called on them to always treasure the gracious gift the Eucharistic celebration, which is the mission to which God calls them. Denouncing all forms of discouragement and obstacles to the new ministers of the church as they join the Sacred Priesthood, Bishop George called on them to be faithful and steadfast in their mission as followers of Christ. Faithfulness and steadfastness, he said, is a vital part of following Christ. Acknowledging that trials and difficulties are inevitable in their pastoral work, he cautioned them to always turn to God with faith, trust and patience as Christ did in the Gethsemane where he experience an overwhelming sense of sorrow and desolation. As Christ did to his disciples, Bishop George assured the new priests that he will also pray to his father for their protection, unity among themselves and for their steadfastness as they accept the challenge to answer his call. He called on Christians to be a source of protection and guidance to the priests and to desist from all forms of scandal about the priests. Scandal, he said, destroys the holy Church of God. He exhorted all to see them as their own brothers, forgive them as any other human being and pray for them for they are the ones who bring Christians closer to the heart of God.

The Ordination Mass was concelebrated by Archbishop Antoine Ntalou of Garoua and a host of priests from Kumbo and beyond. After a careful evaluation of the efforts of the Christians of the Diocese of Kumbo, the Secretary of the Kumbo Diocesan Laity Council Mr. Yubin Ernest termed them a hard working set of Christians taking into consideration the number of successes recorded since the Episcopal Ordination of His Lordship Bishop George Nkuo. That ordination, the thanksgiving Mass in his home village of Njinikom, the installation of Bishop Immanuel Bushu of Buea and the ordination of seven priests within the same number of months were all proof of how much they love God and his Church.

To the ordaining Bishop, the secretary classified his first fruits as the Bishop of the Church in Kumbo with seven priests as a glaring testimony of divine approval and thanked him for accepting the candidates for ordination. Reminding the Christians of Kumbo of the majority of priests they get for ordination each year, he called on them to make additional effort in their Seminary collection, because the output each year has always been below standard in relation to those of the other dioceses of the Ecclesiastical Province of Bamenda, who do not have such a high number of priests to ordain from the St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary in Bambui.

Ich gehe für ein Jahr nach Kamerun

Ich gehe für ein Jahr nach Kamerun
Von Gundula Stegemann

Limburg. Christine Kloos ist 18 Jahre alt und hat gerade ihre Abiturklausuren geschrieben. Von Ende August an geht sie für ein Jahr nach Kamerun, um einen Internationalen Freiwilligendienst zu leisten. Seit mehreren Jahren bietet das Bistum Limburg mit dem Partnerbistum Kumbo in Kamerun jungen Menschen die Möglichkeit, den Freiwilligendienst zu leisten. Der Dienst ist unentgeltlich. Sein Ziel: Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe und multikulturelle Kommunikation zwischen den beiden Bistümern, die partnerschaftlich miteinander verbunden sind.

In der Domstadt ist Christine Kloos nicht ganz unbekannt. Einige kennen die Schülerin der Peter-Paul-Cahensly-Schule bereits: Als Jugendsprecherin in der Domgemeinde, als Messdienerin im Dom und als Pfadfindergruppenleiterin des Stammes „Limburg Dom“. Sich für andere zu engagieren ist für sie, das viertälteste von neun Kindern, selbstverständlich und gehört einfach dazu.

Im vergangenen Sommer hat sie überlegt, wie es nach dem Abitur für sie weitergehen soll, berichtet die Schülerin. Und da kam ihr der Gedanke, für ein Jahr ins Ausland zu gehen, andere Menschen zu unterstützen, ihnen zu helfen und dabei neue Erfahrungen und Eindrücke zu sammeln. „Den Menschen in Afrika und Lateinamerika fehlt es oft an Unterstützung im Alltag“, sagt Christine Kloos. „Ich möchte ihnen gern helfen, aber auch von ihnen lernen.“

Also hat sie sich im Internet informiert und beworben. Seit Januar steht es fest: Sie geht nach Kumbo ins Youth Office. Seit sie das weiß, kann sie sich nun gezielter informieren und auf das Jahr in Afrika vorbereiten. Zurzeit spricht sie mit Leuten, die schon einmal in Kamerun waren. Und sie hat bereits die Adresse einer jungen Frau, die zurzeit dort ist. „Auf jeden Fall werde ich den Kontakt zu ihr aufnehmen.“

Ihr Motto: Gemeinsam glauben, miteinander lernen, einander helfen. Der Sinn der Aktion besteht für sie nicht allein darin, hinzufahren und ein gutes Werk zu tun. Vielmehr schwebt ihr vor, als eine Art verlängerter Arm für ihre Gemeinde und andere Unterstützer direkt vor Ort Hilfe zu leisten. Ihre Aufgabe sieht sie nicht darin, lediglich Geld ins Land zu bringen, sondern dort, wo Not ist, praktisch zu helfen. Deshalb ist sie dabei, einen Unterstützerkreis aufzubauen, mit dessen Hilfe sie das Projekt in Afrika unterstützen will. Ihre Aufgaben werden sehr vielseitig sein. Manche Dinge, die sie den Menschen beibringen soll, wird sie selbst noch lernen müssen, zum Beispiel, wie man Seife anfertigt oder ein Feld bestellt.

„Es geht vor allem darum, voneinander zu lernen“, sagt Chistine Kloos. „Denn es ist bestimmt nicht so, dass nur ich den Menschen etwas vermitteln kann. Ich werde dort sicher auch einiges lernen müssen, beispielsweise wie man mit wenig auskommt, sich etwas einteilt.“ Denn eines weiß sie schon: Strom und Wasser stehen nicht immer unbegrenzt zur Verfügung. Wer klug ist, schafft sich Wasservorräte an und hat Kerzen im Haus – für alle Fälle. Diese Berichte ihrer Vorgänger und anderer Ortskundiger über die Situation, die sie dort antreffen wird, machen ihr aber keine Angst. Sie sieht es als Herausforderung. Als Pfadfinderin hat sie schließlich gelernt, sich in solchen Momenten zu helfen, die Schöpfung zu achten und respektvoll mit ihr umzugehen. „Wichtig ist mir vor allem, für andere da zu sein, ohne eine Gegenleistung zu erwarten – und unseren Glauben weiterzugeben“, sagt die 18-Jährige. Für ihre Zukunft plant sie, eventuell Journalistik und Theologie zu studieren. Ihr Traum: Später mal in einem kirchlichen Verlag zu arbeiten.

Wer dem Unterstützerkreis beitreten möchte, kann sich an Christine Kloos wenden unter Telefon: (0 64 31) 2 57 09.

Frankfurter Neue Presse, Printausgabe vom 17.04.2007

A Priest is the messenger of God’s people

By Livinus Tal Bam

Priestskbo Priests of the Diocese of Kumbo have once more been exhorted to re-examine themselves so as to make themselves, the true messengers of God in the lives they lead. This call was made at the St. Theresa’s Cathedral parish in Kumbo recently at a concelebrated Chrism Mass which brought together all the priests of the Diocese to take part in the solemn rite of the consecration of Holy oils

Beginning his exhortation to the priests at this chrism mass, His Lordship Bishop George Nkuo felt quite uplifted for the first time to have all the priests of the Diocese around him and called for unity among them to form a one and strong presbyterium which will bear and share with the bishop, the pastoral responsibility and care of the Diocese. Thanking God for the gift of priesthood in the life of mankind and especially in the lives of the Christians of Kumbo diocese, he called on all the priests to always pray to God for perseverance in their priestly ministry.

Quoting examples of persevering priests in the diocese, the bishop greeted with great satisfaction, former Vicar General Emeritus of the Diocese of Kumbo; Rev Fr Peter Watson who will be celebrating 50 years in the service of the Lord as a priest in July this year, while thanking God for the energy and strength he has bestowed on him in the years gone by. He also congratulated the parish priest of the St. John the Baptist parish Elak; Rev Fr Hermann Guffler who has also persevered in the priestly ministry and will be celebrating 40 years as a priest in July 2007. Rev Fr Robert Tanto, the Parish Priest of Binju-Nkambe will be celebrating his silver jubilee on the 14th of April this year.

This and many more, the bishop thanked God for their lives as priests and jointly wished a happy anniversary to all the priests of the Diocese who will be celebrating their respective anniversaries with a great attention focused on the supreme love of Christ to them. Continuing his call to the priests, he reminded them on their position in the world. The priesthood he said is a ministry while the priests are the ministers. A ministry which is a service with servants, he cautioned them as the servants of the priestly ministry to stay loyal to Christ who is the one and eternal priest in their unceasing availability to the people of God while serving a link to join the people to God. He warned the priests to stay clear of all earthly pleasures and property while stating that although they are men in the world, they are not the men of this world.

Drawing inspiration from the scripture readings of the day taken from the books of Isaiah and Luke, the bishop called on the priests to continue in a courageous manner, the work of Christ which has been passed on to them. The priests then publicly renewed their priestly ordination vows at this mass and took home the consecrated oils to continue the work as servants of God to his people in their various parishes.

April 13, 2007 at 04:37 AM

Winds cause immense damage in Kumbo

By Livinus Tal Bam
The government’s tradition to detect high risk zones in Douala, Buea, Yaounde and other towns in Cameroon will soon reach all the parts of the country. No place seems to be safe from the destruction caused by natural disasters such as floods, volcanic eruptions, wind and other forces.

Kumbo has recently experienced devastating winds which destroyed a number of places. A fierce passing wind on the night of April 1, took the inhabitants of Kumbo unawares, as it caused an unexpected destruction. The principal areas where the impact was felt the most included the premises of the Government Bilingual School (GBHS), the Presbyterian Comprehensive High School (PCHS), and the new Catholic Pastoral Centre. In GBHS Kumbo, the wind completely took off the roofs of some six classrooms, the Senior Discipline Master’s office and the school canteen while in PCHS Kumbo the roofs of two classrooms were also taken off with accompanying damage to contend with. Books and other valuable documents in the discipline master’s office are said to have been completely damaged in GBHS due to the rains that night.

As schools will be resuming on the 16th of April, the school authorities and the PTAs of the various schools have a rock-climbing task ahead of them. It is clear that something must be done and fast too to ensure that before schools get back, the various classes destroyed should have been kept back in their initial good shapes and even better. If this is not done therefore, the students who studied in these classes for the first and second term will have a lot of inconveniences to crown their academic year during the third term. When we visited GBHS Kumbo to see what the school authority has been doing to redress this mal situation, it was found out that the students of the destroyed classes will not suffer much when schools resume on April 16, thanks to the smart PTA of the school who had foreseen the future and build some additional classes. Although these classes are not yet complete, the students will be compel to study in them while waiting for government’s reaction to the disaster.

The school administration according to the day watch man of GBHS, tried and tidied the campus off the dangerous weapons thrown by the wind and also reported the matter to the Divisional delegation of secondary schools Bui and the senior divisional officer for to channel it to the government for onward reaction to reconstruct the structures. In the main time, other business persons in the town and family heads who also fell victim to the fierce wind are also leaving no stone unturned to make sure that goods and families are protected from the rain.
No human loss were recorded. If high risk zones were to be carved out in Kumbo town, will GBHS Kumbo, PCHS Kumbo and the new Catholic Pastoral Centre be amongst the places? These places whose sites are not as high as would be blamed for exposure to the wind were instead the ones destroyed. One could not have imagined in Kumbo that these places can ever be affected by wind. This is why the people have concluded that there is a kind of mysticism in the destruction of these places.

April 13, 2007 at 02:25 AM

CERAC women console Northwest conflict victims

By Ephraim Bam Ceracmbesa

The impact of the recent inter-tribal war between Mbesa and Oku has been felt right to the nation’s capital of Yaounde. For this, the Minister of Commerce Madam Ama Tutu Muna, who was personal representative of the First Lady Madam Chantal Biya; founding president of the Circle of Friends of Cameroon (CERAC), came to Mbesa with some CERAC women to hand over gifts to the war victims.

Welcoming the personal representative to his locality, the Mayor for Belo sub-Division; Hon. Bernard Tosam thanked the CERAC women for the great attention paid to Belo. He thanked them for visiting Mbesa shortly after visiting Mbingo Baptist Hospital during the World Leprosy Day. While regretting the consequences of the inter-tribal war, the mayor said Belo Council has stood by the war victims of Mbesa since the crisis began, providing them resources such as food, clothing, rehabilitation and also helping to keep the forces of law and order in the village to restore peace, but lamented that their meagre resource were not enough for the people. He thanked CERAC for coming to their aid and appealed to the personal Madam Ama Tutu Muna to inform the First Lady that the people of Mbesa are crying and seriously need assistance to rehabilitate the many homes destroyed and to reconstruct the destroyed pipe-borne water system.

The former deputy mayor for Belo, on behalf of the people, thanked the CERAC women for the significant consignment of gifts they had brought. To him, this consignment will bring comfort to the war victims. In return for these gifts, he asked the CERAC women to express their appreciation to the First Lady for her motherly gesture. Talking to the people of Mbesa, Madam Ama Muna expressed shock and pain over the terrible destruction she saw in the village. She called on the inhabitants to be courageous and take heart while stating that she and her members came purposely to console with the war victims and their families. She promised to recount her experience to the First Lady when she returns to Yaounde for onward reaction. Under one of the key objectives of CERAC, which is to give assistance to the needy, the CERAC women and the personal representative of the first lady brought to Mbesa some gifts which will help to lessen the pain the war victims are going through.

The consignment included bags of rice, bush lamps, water gallons, margarine, cutlasses, hoes, mattresses, blankets, bedspreads among many others, which were handed over to the fon of the village to distribute to the people.

April 13, 2007 at 01:25 AM

Good Friday


Wa Habibi, Good Friday Hymn sung by Fairouz:
This is one of two official Catholic hymns adopted from the 20th century. This new Good Friday hymn is sung by the Lebanese singer Fairuz. I have set this song to the Fourteen Stations of the Cross.