Country Spotlight: Cameroon
Our Work in Cameroon
In 2000, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) supported the first five prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) health facilities in Cameroon in partnership with the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services (CBCHS). By December 2010, in close collaboration with EGPAF, CBCHS expanded PMTCT services to 810 sites (out of 3,370 sites, nationally), including 252 government facilities, in five regions. In 2015, through U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funding, under our Delivering Technical Assistance (DELTA) Project, EGPAF opened its first office in Cameroon.
EGPAF-Cameroon participates in several technical working groups at the national-level including those related to PMTCT and pediatric HIV care and treatment. We continually advocate for policies that promote the wellbeing of those living with HIV. Through Project DELTA, EGPAF has advocated for national adaptation of globally recommended HIV prevention and treatment guidelines and developed training curricula, tools and standard operating procedures to implement these guidelines throughout the country.
Currently, EGPAF-Cameroon provides technical assistance and support to the Government of Cameroon, CBCHS, and other national partners to manage HIV prevention, care and treatment programs. We work closely with the Ministry of Health to improve accessibility of pediatric HIV services in-country and we collaborate with CBCHS, both to improve access and quality of PMTCT and pediatric HIV care and treatment, and to implement operations research and monitoring and evaluation studies to develop high-quality and effective HIV and AIDS programs. EGPAF is also supporting CBCHS in a two-year evaluation of guidelines recommending lifelong treatment among all HIV-positive pregnant women (the World Health Organization’s Option B+) in 22 facilities. CBCHS and EGPAF are assessing uptake, adherence, and retention challenges of Option B+ in these health facilities to inform the Ministry of Health’s PMTCT strategy. EGPAF further supports EGPAF CBCHS in the Option B+ qualitative study that has been designed to examine the experience and opinion of women enrolled at CBCHS Option B+ pilot facilities.
Key Projects in Cameroon
District Capacity Strengthening for PMTCT services in the West Region of Cameroon
(2015 - TBD) EGPAF provides direct financial support and technical assistance to CBCHS to enhance PMTCT services in the West Region. Activities supported under this project include: implementation of psychosocial support groups for both children and adults; and women’s health programs, which provide cervical cancer screening and treatment, breast cancer screening, and management of reproductive tract infections. We also support a youth health education network to ensure prevention of HIV among children and adolescents.
HIV-Free Littoral and Centre Regions of Cameroon: Expand Coverage and Improve the Quality of Facility and Community-Based PMTCT Support for Rollout of Option B+ Services
(2015 - 2022) Through this project, EGPAF’s support to CBCHS focuses on reduction of HIV-related maternal and child mortality through the integration of PMTCT services within reproductive health services and expanding HIV care and treatment services in Littoral and Centre regions. EGPAF also oversees implementation of PMTCT activities, leads monitoring and evaluation, and provides technical assistance in maternal, newborn and child health, PMTCT, and HIV counseling and testing at supported health facilities.
Strengthening Community-Based Organizations in Cameroon to Address PMTCT
(2012 - 2017) Through ViiV funding, EGPAF applies lessons learned from our Kenya and Malawi ViiV-funded programs to support CBCHS in implementing a community-focused PMTCT project in the northwest, southwest, and central regions. CBCHS and EGPAF partner with local, community-based organizations, to optimize PMTCT service delivery through trainings and mentorship activities offered to health care workers.
HIV-Free Project in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon
(2011 - 2016) EGPAF provides support to CBCHS on this CDC-funded project to increase HIV-free survival among infants, and reduce HIV-related morbidity and mortality among families in all 17 districts of the Southwest Region and 18 districts of the Northwest Region of Cameroon. EGPAF provides technical assistance to implement PMTCT services, program monitoring and evaluation, and health worker capacity-building initiatives.
Optimizing Early Infant Diagnosis and Treatment for HIV-infected Infants, 2015 – 2019
This UNITAID-funded project aims to increase access to early infant diagnosis (EID) and antiretroviral treatment among eligible children. The project’s two main objectives are to optimize EID networks through the introduction of point-of-care machines to increase the number of infants tested and initiated on ART, and create a market for affordable, effective, and equitable HIV testing of exposed infants. The project will be implemented in 31 health districts in four regions (Centre, Littoral, Northwest, and Southwest).
Implementing Pediatric HIV Training Centers in Cameroon
(2015 – 2019): Under DELTA, EGPAF’s technical assistance to Cameroon has been focused on strengthening health worker expertise in the management of pediatric HIV and implementation of the World Health Organization’s 2013 Option B+ guidelines. Through DELTA, EGPAF developed a nationally-validated, pediatric HIV management training curriculum; this training has been rolled out across all ten regions in Cameroon. EGPAF also provides technical support to four pediatric training centers of excellence created to promote efficacious training of health workers. To further support pediatric HIV management, EGPAF has developed a mentorship model to ensure health workers throughout the country have the support they need to enhance identification of children who are HIV-positive, disclosure of status to child, care and treatment, adherence to treatment, monitoring and psychosocial support.