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Biya, Grand Master Seal Many Pacts 

By Yerima Kini Nsom & *Kinsley Nche

President Biya in a warm handshake with Grand Master at Unity Palace

President Paul Biya and his the visiting Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre Del Tempio Di Sanguietto, have agreed that the charitable Order will continue to provide more humanitarian assistance to various segments of the Cameroonian society.

This is one of the topics the duo discussed during an audience at the Unity Palace On Tuesday, July 17.
It was in tandem with spirit of the discussions that officials of the Sovereign Order signed an agreement with the Ministry of Defence, specifically in the health domain.

Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre Del Tempio Di Sanguinetto , who arrived in Cameroon on July 16 for a four-day official visit, received a Doctorate Honoris Causa Degree in Classical Studies and Philosophy from the Yaounde I University .

Speaking at the occasion, the Rector of the Yaounde University, Prof. Maurice Aurelien Sosso, painted a portrait of the Grand Master before giving room to his Vice, Prof. Jean Emmanuel Pondi, for the reading of the resolution of the Permanent Sector of the Board meeting of the University of Yaounde l, held on July 16.

Taking the floor at the Amphi Theatre 700 of the University, the Grand Master said: “Permit me, l plead with you, to speak in my native language, Italian.”

He then proceeded to say, “I notice with admiration, that a great number of students and persons in Cameroon are interested in classical letters and do study them.”

He said: “With great joy, l will recall these moments again in many years to come, thank you, thank you.” He was then handed the Honoris Causa Doctorate Degree by Prof. Fame Ndongo.

The signing of the guest book came shortly after the Religious Order gave the Higher Education a special gift.
The Minister of Higher Education, Prof. Jacques Fame Ndongo, who chaired the ceremony, recounted the history of the Sovereign Order of Malta. While highlighting the charitable acts of the Sovereign Order, the Minister lauded the Grand Master for being a true friend of Cameroon.

The Sovereign Order of Malta that established diplomatic relations with Cameroon in 1961 has carried out a good number of humanitarian projects in the country.

In 1970, the Sovereign Order constructed the Rohan-Chabot Leprosarium in Mokolo in the Mayo-Tsanaga Division, in the Far North Region.

It later enlarged the Centre with the construction of a dispensary, an equipment centre for the people with disabilities, a health centre, and a nutrition centre for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.

It also rehabilitated the Saint John of Malta hospital in Njombe, Moungo Division of the Littoral Region, as well as its extension in 2011 in partnership with the Government of Cameroon.

Since 2002, the Sovereign Order of Malta funded the care and management of 30 children with cancer per trimester in association with Franco-African groups of Pediatric Oncology and the Chantal Biya Foundation.

In 1998, the Order provided assistance to the Nsam fire disaster victims in Yaounde providing burn surgeons to the Central Hospital of the capital city.

It equally blessed the hospital with the donations of medical and emergency equipment at the disaster centre of the Yaounde Central Hospital.

The Embassy of the Sovereign Order of Malta donates running subventions to a dozen dispensaries and Catholic missions in the country.

Besides, the order has also distributed 100 denominial or public clinic in disadvantaged areas worth FCFA 6 billion. It equally supports Cameroon in programmes that are focused on the detection and treatment of tuberculosis through 14 clinic and dispensaries. The Sovereign Order of Malta has also extended its charity to the Gado-Badzere refugee camps in Lom and Djerom Division in the East Region.

In 2006, the former Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta, His most Emininence Highness Fra Andrew Bertie, signed a partnership agreement with the First Lady, Chantal Biya, to strengthen cooperation ties with the Chantal Biya Foundation.

Since 2002, the Order has funded the care and management of 30 children with cancer per quarter in association with the Franco- African group paediatric Oncology and Chantal Biya Foundation.

The Sovereign Order of Malta was founded in the 11th century as monastic community inspired by Saint John the Baptist. It now focuses exclusively on the humanitarian activities. The Order focuses on the fight against poverty in more than 120 countries.

* (ASMAC journalism Student On Internship)