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Baba II Village
Launching of the anti-HIV/AIDS project and mass voluntary counseling and testing (MVCT)
8th May 2006
The opening ceremony started at about 12:30 pm with a welcome address by Mr. ACHIRI Z.A. thanking the officials and the villagers who have left other engagements to be present at this important launching of the project for the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Baba II residents queue for testing
Present at the Launching ceremony were: • The Divisional Officer (D.O.) of Santa Sub-Division, Mr. ELANGO Zacheus Bakoma. • The District Medical Officer (DMO) of Santa Sub-Division, Dr. TCHACONTE • Chairman of the Social Democratic Front (SDF), Ni John Fru NDI. • Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of COPAAP, Dr. ACHU Ngang Paul and team. • The Provincial Technical Group (PTG) representatives, Mr. Vugugah Nintcho • The President General (P.G.) of the Baba II Cultural and Development Association Mr. NDIFON Charles. • The president of AZOPE, Mrs. Tamufor Naomi. • The Secretary General AZOPE, Mr. ACHIRI Zacheus Asanga.
The next speaker Mr. NDIFON Charles, president general of AZOPE thanked the officials again and the Baba II population for respecting this appointment. He expressed his hearty thanks to Dr. ACHU as a brother who will not have something good and not share with them. He reminded the Baba II population why COPAAP has come to launch this project at their health center to reiterate the importance of the creation of this health center. He asked everyone to stand and observe a minute of silence in honour of the late Mrs. Rose Fru NDI who spear-headed the construction of this health center with the assistance of the AZOPE women in Bamenda town. Mr. NDIFON Charles hoped that the Baba II people will feel committed by generously contributing into the solidarity fund so as to eradicate this pandemic in their village. The fund will enable every indigent to know their status and to be able to provide follow-up and treatment for those found to be positive after screening.
Dr. ACHU thanked the officials for being present and also the population. He explained to the population why he had come to launch this project in their village. One of the reasons is to demystify the reasons surrounding deaths in our communities which go along with hatred and accusation of innocent persons. He told the population that if they could all understand that HIV/AIDS is what is killing most of our family members, then we should all be fighting together to eradicate this pandemic. He encouraged the community to consider this project as their first priority project over other community development projects such as the construction of schools, bridges, health centers etc, otherwise these facilities will exist and the people to enjoy them will be gone. Dr. ACHU again spoke on the importance of creating a solidarity fund. He thanked the CUDAS for all the efforts they have made to send in ten volunteers to be trained by COPAAP. He emphasized the fact that the amount of help they may continue to get from COPAAP, Care – Global Fund shall be directly related to the size of their solidarity fund and the participation in the project. Dr. ACHU presented the volunteers to the population who took their oath in front of them as a sign of engagement and commitment to sacrifice and work for the good of their people. The volunteers were handed their certificates by various officials amidst applause by the crowd.The DMO of Santa Sub-Division, Dr. TCHACUNTE thanked Dr. ACHU for this laudable initiative and the Baba II community for coming to the launching. He encouraged the population to take this project as their community project and know their status and encourage their relatives to do the same so as to kick out HIV/AIDS from their village. He regretted the absence of the youths who are the most vulnerable and expressed the hope that as the Village AIDS Control Center (VACC) will soon take effect; most of the youths would go there to do their test.
The PTG representative, Mr. Vugugah Nintcho congratulated the entire population for showing up to this memorable occasion, though regretting the absence of the youths who are the most vulnerable. In his speech, he told the population that if they do not change their behaviour HIV/AIDS will continue to spread. He rehearsed the various ways by which HIV/AIDS is contracted as the population spontaneously gave the response.
Chairman Ni John Fru NDI requested for permission to speak to his people. He thanked the D.O for being present and all the officials. He thanked especially Dr. ACHU for coming to help save his people from this pandemic. He reminded the Baba II people of all the sacrifices he and his late wife had made to bring the health center to Baba II. He pleaded to the D.O. to wage a war against the rampant theft in the village which is hampering the progress towards economic stability and sustainability. He said the absence of most of the youths at the occasion was not a good sign of understanding and cooperation. He also said stealing discourages generous contributions and any development projects in all communities.
In the official launching speech, the D.O. thanked all the speakers and praised the incessant efforts of Dr. ACHU in the fight against HIV/AIDS in his jurisdiction. He expressed dissatisfaction with the poor turn-out of the youths who he said ought to be better represented. He wished that the Baba II people will embrace this project whole-heartedly by contributing generously into their solidarity fund. The launching of the project kicked off at 2:30pm with contributions into the Solidarity Fund by the population and the invitees. The D.O. contributed a the sum of 5000frs, Dr. ACHU gave 5000frs and AZOPE CUDA contributed 15000frs amongst other community members making a total amount of 80000frs.
Mrs. Tamufor Naomi chaired the fund-raising occasion and contributors took kola nuts from a covered bowl as a sign that their contributions would go to plant more nuts for the villagers. This implies that the contributions they were making were seeds being planted to be harvested when HIV/AIDS becomes history.
Mass screening went on along side the fund raising activity and 297 were screened. Refreshments ended the day at 6.30pm with many more words of thanks from the AZOPE president to Dr. Achu and the mobile technical team.