Engaging carpenters in Yaoundé to support the LLINs hang-up campaign in Cameroon
9 March 2012
On Tuesday, 6 March 2012, MC-CCAM organized a training workshop with the aim of engaging some 14 carpenters in support of the Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) hang-up campaign in Cameroon. 2 of the 14 participants represented a group of 10 carpenters. The training was done as prelude to a maiden competition to select the best "LLINs-friendly bed". It is also part of the organization's activities planned for the 2012 World Malaria Day, to be celebrated on 25 April under the theme: "Sustain Gains, Save Lives and Invest in Malaria".
Prior to this, MC-CCAM had a working session with the Executive Secretary of CNAC (Confédération Nationale des Artisans du Cameroun), who willingly bought in to the process and accepted to engage his network of carpenters and craftsmen. He sent out letters of invitation using a target of 25 carpenters based in Yaoundé. Then, the secretary of MC-CCAM followed up by calling on the phone to ensure that the persons invited confirmed their participation.
On the day of the workshop, the MC-CCAM Director, M&E Officer and Advocacy & Communication Officer drilled the participants on elementary aspects on malaria control, focusing on malaria prevention especially with the effective use of LLINs. The facilitators did presentations on basic notions of malaria, the difficulties encountered in using the LLINs and above all, how to hang up and use the LLINs.
After each presentation, the participants asked questions, which were responded to in the simplest manner possible. One of the issues that came up quite often was the availability and the effective use of the LLINs. Out of the 14 participants sampled, only 3 testified that they slept under their LLINs the previous night - an indication that the utilization of LLINs is still very low.
It is, therefore, against this backdrop that MC-CCAM is engaging carpenters to provide a solution that will hopefully push the Cameroonian populace to sleep under the LLINs.
"When I went to Bamenda recently, I visited a few households and I noticed that some people who received the LLINs during the just-ended distribution campaign, hadn't hanged up their mosquito nets. When I asked why...they responded saying that they were yet to devise a method of mounting the LLINs. Some have contacted carpenters to help them adapt their beds to the use of LLINs..." Dr Esther Tallah, the MC-CCAM Director explained.
Almost immediately, most of the carpenters present at the workshop confirmed that they have been producing beds for years without paying keen attention to aspect of designing the beds to suit the use of LLINs. This issue led to one of the outcomes of the workshop - that of the participants being fully aware of the dangers of malaria and acknowledging the key role they can play to encourage Cameroonians to sleep under the LLINs by producing beds that are "LLINs-friendly" as well as exhibit the hanging-up of LLINs as a way of promoting the effective use of LLINs in their respective workshop.
The MC-CCAM Director added that this will help abate the worries of the Minister of Public Health (MOH), who inspired her to come up with this initiative. The MOH had earlier on evoked that in spite of the success registered with the massive distribution of LLINs, the major challenge is hang-up and that can be possible if carpenters are engaged to support the exercise!
At the end, the Director of MC-CCAM presented the modalities of the contest, which is based on the following criteria: innovation in terms of the concept, cost-effectiveness, ease of use and aesthetics (i.e. being able to maintain the beauty of your room or sleeping space while hanging up and using your LLINs). 10 April 2012 was fixed as the deadline for the competitors to finalize their works, after which a jury will pass around to evaluate and score the various sample "hang-up" beds on the spot. All the participants present at the workshop are eligible to participate in the competition.
All the 14 carpenters and craftsmen were offered an LLIN each, thanks to a pack of mosquito nets that Drive Against Malaria (DAM) donated. This was intended to encourage them to sleep under the LLINs every night and to also use demonstrate the effective use of LLINs in their respective workshops.