By Doh James Sonkey
Some five peer educators from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Civic Education, MINJEC are committed to significantly contribute to goverment’s efforts geared towards curbing maternal, neonatal and infant mortality in Cameroon.
To do this, they gather over 20 young students at Pitoa Sub Division, Benoue Division of the North region on monthly basis within the framework of educative talks to raise awareness among the youths on essential family practices on maternal, neonatal and infant health in their community.
Sagassa Baibanda Elizabeth, a peer educator since 2 years and mother of 5 children is among a total of 609 peer educators (600 planned) trained and deployed in selected health districts in the country for the promotion of essential family practices in maternal, newborn, and infant-juvenile health through educative talks organized in the community.
Motivated by the drive to curb the phenomenon of early unwanted pregnancy among young girls in their community, Sagassa Baiganda Elizabeth said “our mission consists in sensitizing not only girls but also their parents so that they can better advise their daughters on matters concerning sexuality. We tell young girls that pregnancy before the age of 18 comes along with a lot of consequences such as difficult delivery which if not better handled can cause maternal mortality.”
Statistics from UNICEF reveal that a total of 714 educative talks were organized during the 4th quarter of 2020 with 42,285 persons reached. During the 1st quarter of 2021, a total of 582 educative talks were organized and 30,813 persons were also reached.
It is worth noting that UNICEF with the contribution of the Islamic Development Bank, through MINJEC, is supporting this initiative in the Maternal, neonatal and child health support project, which aims to contribute to the reduction of maternal and child mortality by raising awareness among communities to adopt healthy behaviors.
According to the Regional Inspector of Pedagogy at the North Regional Delegation of Youth Affairs and Civic Education, Amadou Moussa, the decision to bring youth on board the fight was very necessary due to the vulnerability of these youth in issues such as early marriages, early pregnancies, early child bearing etc that often lead to complications if not well managed.