Tuesday, January 26, 2010
By Martine Yolande Tsenou,
The 5th Ordinary General Meeting of the Federation of Cameroon Breastfeeding Promotion Associations, FECABPA, held in Yaoundé on the 23rd January 2010. Attended by some 20 representatives of member organisations of the federation, activities in 2009 were reviewed and discussions centred on the plan of action for 2010.
In the annual orientation speech, the National President of FECABPA, James Achanyi-Fontem, started by wishing all a “Happy and Prosperous New Year 2010”, adding that since the creation of the Cameroon national nutrition networking exchange coalition for the promotion of infant and young child feeding on the 14th September 2007, the vision of the organisation has remained the same.
He recalled to members of FECABPA that the vision is to protect, promote and support mothers to breastfeed their babies and feed infants adequately as a right to food, affection and tenderness as the guarantee for good health and well being.
He invited FECABPA members to continue to use the different techniques and strategies taught them during the training at Obala in 2008 for social mobilisation within the context of the expansion of recommendations of the World Health Assembly, World Health Organisation and UNICEF. He announced that WHO published new HIV recommendations to improve health, reduce infections and save lives during the last World AIDS Day 2009. He is the role of health associations to inform communities of the new recommendations published on a good number of health web sites already.
The National President of FECABPA, James Achanyi-Fontem, talked about how to design local action plans within the context of pertinent declarations of the United Nations Organisation and the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals. He invited all organisations to work in close collaboration with health districts in the regions starting from their health areas of locations.
He revealed that the theme for the World Breastfeeding Week 2010 is centred on the ten conditions for successful breastfeeding and that this is visible through the 15 key indicators of the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative, WBTi that is considered to facilitate the closure of gaps where little is done in any given country.
Zimbabwe and Cameroon benefitted from the WBTi training in 2009, and the role of those who received the training is to transfer the monitoring and evaluation techniques to other organisations and their colleagues in their countries, who were not opportune.
All trainers in Cameroon agreed that regular monitoring and evaluation could help to identify gaps and close them during planned activities. Speaking on international network planned activities, the National President of FECABPA who doubles as the Coordinator of WABA Men’s Working Group and Focal Point for IBFAN Cameroon informed members that the 8th Conference of IBFAN Africa has been scheduled in the month of September 2010 in Mauritius Island and that members should start scouting funds for their travel, accommodation and meals. The theme of the conference has been announced as, “Breastfeeding, Child Survival and the Role of Infant and Young Child Feeding”.
The Coordinator of Men’s Initiative made it known that Sarah Amin and Susan Siew, who are WABA Co-Directors have also announced some key events following the WABA Steering Committee Meeting held in October 2009. These events have been slated towards the end of 2010, starting with WABA Global Breastfeeding Partners’ Meeting (GBPM) from 17th to 19th October 2010 and the theme for the meeting is "Enabling Mothering: Keeping Mothers and Babies together". The GBPM proper takes place on the 20th October 2010. This will be followed by WABA Steering Committee Meeting from 22nd to 24th October 2010.
On the other hand, the International Coordinator of the World Breastfeeding Week, Julianna Lim Abdullah reported from WABA Secretariat that WBW celebrants in 2009 were from over 170 countries and that more than 500 events took place globally involving more than 800,000 celebrants. The 2009 WBW was described as the greatest outreach event in its history.
With this, Julianna Lim said, WABA is pleased to announce the theme/slogan for WBW 2010 which was decided by the WABA Steering Committee at its October 2009 meeting. The Slogan for WBW 2010 is “Breastfeeding - Just 10 Steps! The Baby-Friendly Way.”
The Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute, led by Miriam Labbok was appointed Key Writer for the WBW 2010 Calendar Announcement and Action Folder. Miriam Labbok and her team will work with the WABA Health Care Practices Task Force, Mother Support Task Force and BFHI Working Group.
In an earlier welcome address by the Secretary General of FECABPA, Suzanne Messe, she made a run down of achievements in a balance sheet that showed that the promotion, protection and support of lactating mothers in Cameroon was on a good foot and that exclusive breastfeeding rate for the first six months is on the increase, especially as member organisations now work regularly to protect rights of mothers and babies to adequate nutrition.
ASSF Bonaberi and NOLFOWOP Yaoundé hosted the two ordinary sessions of March 24 and July 9 respectively in 2009. The sessions focused attention on the best strategies to promote mothers’ and fathers’ support groups with the introduction of the Men’s Initiative as an integral part of infant and young child feeding in Cameroon.
Suzanne Messe lauded the technical and material support from WABA, IBFAN, UNICEF and the Ministry of Public health which led to the expansion of activities within communities. The infant and young child feeding groups benefited from international collaboration during the working visits of Dr. Neal Rosenburg and Professor Donna Taliaferro of Washington Nursing College, who researched on HIV stigmatisation amongst health workers in Cameroon. Tobias Zick of the German Neon Magazine visited Cameroon to support Cameroon Link’s action for prevention of violations of the international and national code on the marketing of breastmilk substitutes within health facilities.
In November 2009, Cameroon Link facilitated the organisation of the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative training for Cameroon in Douala by the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN Africa) consultant, Pauline Kisanga. During the ordinary general meeting of FECABPA in Yaoundé, members took the following resolutions that:
1. Apart from the World Breastfeeding Week celebrated from the 1st – 7th August, the federation’s member organisations would get involve in other calendar events recognised and planned by the government through the ministry of public health, including International Day to fight against cancer on 4th February, International Women’s Day on 8th March, World Health Day on 7th April, African Day for the Reduction of Maternal and Neonatal mortality, Mother and Infant Health and Nutrition Action week in June, International Day of the African Child on 16th June, World Population Day on 11th July, World Food day on 16th October, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25th November and the National and World AIDS Week from 1st – 7th December each year.
2. A theme will be selected for an expose and learning exchange each time the federation holds a quarterly planned ordinary session within the year.
3. Member organisations should be up to date in the payment of their annual dues by June 15 each year to qualify for participation in exchange meetings or benefit from any capacity building training or subventions from the federation. Only active up-to-date members will have access to information on the federation’s account.
4. Inactive members of the Administrative Board would be replaced once it is brought to the knowledge of participants during general meetings. Long term vacancies of some board members were blamed for the non execution of some planned activities of FECABPA.
5. It was agreed that members residing in Yaoundé and neighbouring cities or regions will open and manage a bank account of the Federation, while the group in Douala will run a similar bank account for acceleration of activities covering the Littoral, South West, West regions. It was observed that this decentralisation will help in outreach advocacy in favour of infants and mothers’ rights. The bank account number of FECABPA at Credit Communautaire d’Afrique in Douala is 27-2707367-001-1.
6. It was finally agreed that the Saturday, 24th April 2009 Ordinary General Meeting will be hosted by the Women’s Gender Council (COGESID) Bonamikano and that on Saturday, 17th July 2009, AFFE Mbalmayo will host all member organisations of FECABPA ahead of the joint national launching of the World Breastfeeding Week in Cameroon on the 1st August by the Minister of Public Health.
Participants at the 5th Ordinary General Assembly of the Federation of Cameroon Breastfeeding Promotion Associations, FECABPA, came from COGESID Bonamikano, Maleo Santé Plus, NOLFOWOP, Cameroon Link, Vine Yard Movement, Alternative Santé, AFFE Mbalmayo, Ahead Biyem Assi, AFEIMEK, Fine Forest Foundation Cameroon and ASSOCASFIASAR Yaoundé.
Fine Forest Foundation Cameroon and ASSOCASFIASAR (Midwives & Nurses Association) representatives attended the national meeting for their first time and decided to be affiliated to the federation by paying their dues.