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Higher Education boss, Minister Jacques Fame Ndongo has handed to university heads, the harmonized teaching programme in the fields of medicine, pharmacists and dental surgery in Yaounde. Steps are being taken by the Ministry of Higher Education to improve the quality of medical experts trained in the public and private sectors in the country. The Minister of Higher Education, Professor Jacques Fame Ndongo, yesterday, October 8, 2015 in Yaounde handed to heads of State and private institutions of medical training the harmonized curriculum in the fields of general medicine, pharmacist and dental surgery. This was during a meeting of the National Commission for the Training of Medical Personnel in Cameroon. 

The Minister said the harmonized programme is aimed at ending cacophony in the training of medical personnel as well as creating maximum characteristics which will raise the standard of medical training in Cameroon to meet international norms. While chairing the commission, the Minister of Higher Education, who is also its president stressed the need for different faculties to develop and valorise African medicine and pharmaceutical products which will bring out the genius amongst Africans. Prof. Jacques Fame Ndongo said as of now, there is no visibility in the sector and he wants that each State university reinforces or creates the department of African medicine with a team of its choice. Besides creating such a department, the Minister of Higher Education told experts to focus on research based on plants in the country so as to identify the curative and preventive aspects of the medicine as well as its dosage and side effects. Experts are also required to carry out research on the presentation of traditional medicines which could be in tablet, gel or ampoule form.

So far, Prof. Fame Ndongo said teaching and research procedures taking place in the higher education sector falls within national and international norms. But the loophole according to Fame Ndongo is that graduates from the higher education sector are not able to contribute to the development of the country since training does not adapt to the specificities of the society. The heads of the different commission charged with coming up with the harmonised programme said they took into consideration the realities of the country such as local epidemics and other health issues common in the African continent.

The last known Ebola patient in Sierra Leone was released from a hospital Monday. If the country goes 42 days without a new case, it will be declared Ebola-free. But the virus’ effects continue to haunt many residents, including those who buried the bodies of Ebola victims. When Ebola was at its peak a year ago, corpses sometimes would be left for days before being picked up by overwhelmed burial teams.

The images of decomposed bodies began to haunt burial worker Abu Bakar Kalokah after he joined the Red Cross. 

  "You become nervous. Sometimes you sit alone, thinking what is going to happen tomorrow because tomorrow is another day and the work is not easy," he said. All burials in Sierra Leone must be done by teams wearing protective gear to prevent the virus from spreading from the deceased to the living.  Seeing people killed by Ebola day in and day out was daunting for the burial teams. Some even turned to drugs and alcohol to cope.

To ease their burden, the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) brought in brought in psychosocial experts to administer psychological first aid. One method they taught burial members to do, was to use comedic skits, song and dance to ease stress. Performing for each other helps everyone decompress, said another burial team member, Tamba Musa, adding, "When they come and see these funny dances, it makes them forget the day’s traumas, the trauma they’ve gone through." Joshua Abioseh Duncan is a coordinator for the Mental Health Coalition of Sierra Leone. The coalition, created in 2011, strives to make sure that mental health professionals are available in every district of the country.

This includes teaching people how to provide psychosocial support for each other. For the Ebola response the coalition also worked with government and international partners on mental health issues. This included teaching people how to provide psychosocial support for each other in communities. Counseling will need to continue after the country is Ebola-free, Duncan said.  But, he worries there may not be enough trained people to help. "I only know of one Sierra Leone psychologist, and for me that is a challenge," Duncan said. "Professional counselors – we need more of them. We need more individuals to provide service with regards to issues of this kind." He added that there’s only one psychiatrist for the country’s 6 million people. With so many affected by Ebola, he said, it’s simply not enough.

Cameroon is ending a polio vaccination campaign against a backdrop of growing resistance, even though officials say 7 percent of Cameroon's children are still at risk of contracting the crippling disease.  Forty-three-year-old Clarisse Tomta has refused to allow vaccination agents to inoculate two of her children – both under 5 years of age. She described the anti-polio campaign as unnecessary.

Tomta said it was becoming suspicious when Cameroon organized so many vaccination campaigns against polio knowing fully well that many mothers were educated enough and master their vaccination calendars.

  She said many more Cameroonians died of poverty and should be given more consideration. Dr. Noulna Desire of Cameroon's expanded vaccination program said despite the resistance, which he said was a result of misinformation, fear and suspicion, they would not stop until they vaccinated the 5 million children age 5 and younger they were targeting.

Desire said in spite of the multitude of inoculation campaigns they have organized, more than 7 percent of Cameroonian children were not vaccinated, more than the 5 percent limit the World Health Organization recommends. He said all children who have not been vaccinated are at risk for contracting polio. In 2014, the WHO listed Cameroon among the 10 countries with active wild poliovirus, and ranked it among the top four countries posing the greatest threat of exporting the crippling virus to other countries. In March of 2015 Cameroon attained the status of a "non-polio exporting country" after it hit the six-month mark without a new case. But the WHO said the central African state is still considered a high-risk nation with pockets of resistance. 

Children, medics say, can be victims of cardiovascular diseases through venereal infection by mothers in the early months of pregnancy. Viral infections after birth, poor antenatal care and treatment are also possible causes of heart problems in children. In order to sensitise the public, the National Electricity Corporation, Eneo, in collaboration with La Société Camerounaise de Cardiologie, organised a press conference in Douala on September 21, 2015.

The lecture of Dr Félicité Kamdem, a cardiologist with the Douala General Hospital, clearly stated that 8-10 in every 1,000 children in the world are born with heart problems, with 25 per cent dying before one month if measures are not taken. On the other hand, 50 per cent need surgery in their childhood, 20 per cent are operated when they reach adolescence and 10 per cent live normal lives for long before their problems are discovered. 

The fact that some children are born with heart problems does not necessarily mean it is hereditary, Dr Félicité pointed out. Some contract it after birth - for example when throat problems are poorly treated. Symptoms like sinuses, respiratory difficulties, and stunted growth, among others, should be taken seriously, the experts warned. According to Dr Marie Solange Ndom, preventive measures like reducing cholesterol intake, eating enough fruits and vegetables, doing sports daily, watching television and playing video games for less than an hour daily, are also advisable for adults.

Others are avoiding cigarette smoke and alcohol and carrying out routine medical checks. After revealing that 30 per cent of Cameroonians are hypertensive, which is one of the risk factors of cardiovascular diseases, Eneo’s Medical Adviser, Dr Joseph Dieuboue, added that Eneo has since 10 years, carried out sensitisation, free screening and trained 505 doctors and nurses on cardiovascular diseases. This year’s Heart Days on the theme, “A healthy heart for all children is possible everywhere,” will take the team to 20 schools where 40,000 pupils will be sensitised and screened. Meanwhile, heart surgery for children ranges from FCFA 3.5 million to FCFA 4.5 million in the Shisong Cardiac Centre in Kumbo in the North West Region; which is much cheaper that what obtains abroad.

The Minister of Public Health, André Mama Fouda, on Friday, September 18, 2015, commissioned the new General Manager of the Cameroon Essential Drugs Procurement Centre, CENAME. Dr. Joseph Vaillam was formerly Inspector General in charge of Administrative Services in the Ministry of Public Health. He took over from Dr. Taousse Oussoumanou who headed the structure since 2005. Minister André Mama Fouda hailed Dr. Taoussse for his loyal service to the nation, calling on the new General Manager to continue to promote the availability of quality drugs in the country for the good of all. He reminded Dr. Vaillam of the major challenge facing the country, which is the increase in fake drugs in markets. This phenomenon can only be tackled by ensuring the supply of quality drugs, the Minister pointed out.

Born about 1961 in Guider in the North Region, Dr. Joseph Vaillam attended primary and secondary schools in Guider and Tcholliré. After obtaining the Baccalaureat certificate in Government High School Garoua in 1981, he attended the Cheikh Anta Diop University Dakar, Senegal, where he obtained a PhD in Pharmacy in 1987. He was recruited in the Ministry of Public Health in 1987. He later held several posts and in 1994, was promoted the Provincial Chief of Service for Pharmacy, Adamawa. In 2006, he was appointed Inspector of Pharmaceutics and Laboratory Services in the Ministry of Public Health. Since June 6, 2014, he has been Inspector General of Administrative Services in the Ministry of Public Health; a post he occupied till his recent appointment. 

Dr. Vaillam has a rich professional background. Throughout his professional career, he received training in monitoring health activities in Porto Novo, Benin, in 1992, supervision, control and evaluation of pharmaceutical schools in 1995, training of trainers in health planning in 2006, training in internal verification at the Supreme State Control in 2009, 2011 and 2015, among others. Dr. Joseph Vaillam hails from the Mayo Louti Division in the North Region. He is a widower and father of eight children.

President Biya has dismissed Oussoumanou Taoussé, the General Manager of the National Centre for the supply of essential drugs (CENAME) and Louis Raoul Massing Bias, the General Manger of the National Laboratory for quality control of medicine (LANACOME). The two structures are under the Ministry of Public Health.

President Biya replaced the 55 years old Oussoumanou Taoussé, after 17 years in office with Joseph Vaillam and also did appoint Rose Ngono Mballa to take over from Louis Raoul Massing Bias. The two officials dismissed were regularly accused by local media of feeding the Cameroonian public with fake medicines. 

Cameroon Concord Intelligence Unit however gathered that both Oussoumanou Taousse and Louis Raoul Massing were at daggers-drawn positions with the current minister of public health, André Mama Fouda who sought the intervention of the Civil Cabinet of the Presidency of the Republic.

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Cameroon Concord  is an online publication covering and reporting on  local and world news, sports, entertainment, politics, business, and religious news. Serving Cameroonians .

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