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AES-SONEL, Gov’t Partner Against Cardiovascular Diseases 

By Melvis Kimbi Lu-uh

The electricity producing company, AES-SONEL and the Cameroon government on August 11 pledged to fight vigorously against cardiovascular diseases which are major health threats to the country’s population.

AES Sonel, Public Health officials at signing ceremony

Both parties made the pledge in a convention they signed at the Ministry of Public Health in Yaounde. Public Health Minister, André Mama Fouda, signed on behalf of government while the General Manager of AES-SONEL, Brian Rich, did so for his company. The Cameroon Heart Foundation also used this opportunity to launch the fourth annual sensitizing campaign on cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, heart attack, myocardial infarction, and cerebrovascular accidents. The campaign will run from August 10 to 16.

While presenting the terms of the agreement, a senior public health official, Dr. Emmanuel Nomo, indicated that AES-SONEL had decided to give a helping hand after having considered government’s efforts to fight against diseases. He said the convention aims at promoting partnership which will enhance the combating of other diseases like HIV/AIDS, malaria, diabetes and cancer. He added that this disease prevention campaign had been running since 2006 with AES-SONEL in partnership with the Cameroon Heart Foundation, CAMHEF. It involved the sensitization of families, workers, clients and the local population in communities where AES SONEL carries out its activities.  

The week’s campaign included health checks and debates. Health officials describe hypertension as a global epidemic whose principal risk factors include cerebrovascular accidents and renal and heart problems. Statistics indicate that 25 percent of Cameroonians aged 15 and above are hypertensive. The urban areas are most affected with 17.6 percent for men and 11.4 percent for women, statistics say. "In a context of limited resources like ours preventive measures are advised", said Andre Mama Fouda. "A reduction in the consumption of salt, fats and regular physical exercises are important," he added.  He further called on mothers, restaurant owners, and the public to join in the fight.

The President of CAMHEF, Pr Daniel Lemogoum, said "African countries are witnessing an explosion of diseases and it is time we stood up to combat them." To him, educating the population and the training of 500 doctors and 300 nurses is a positive move to improve the health sector. `

The AES-SONEL Sub Director, Alexandre Siewe, while presenting statistics on the health condition said more than five million Cameroonians have already been sensitized while 150.000 persons have benefited from free arterial hypertension, obesity and diabetes tests. About 3.000 SONEL workers had participated in each edition of annual march against heart diseases. The march against heart diseases this year were scheduled for August 15 and 16 in Limbe and Douala, respectively.

Meantime, the population of the Biyem Assi neighbourhood in Yaounde took part in a question and answer session during a second launch of the disease prevention campaign. Some of them won prices.

(ASMAC Journalism Student On Internship)

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