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CAMPOST Launches Fight Against HIV/AIDS 

By Melvis Kimbi LU-UH*

The Cameroon Postal Services, CAMPOST, has embarked on a campaign to fight against HIV/AIDS. The outfit launched the campaign at a press Conference in Yaoundé recently. "The post (postal services) has your health at heart, protect yourselves," was the theme of the campaign, an initiative of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in partnership with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), International Labour Organisation (ILO) and UNI Global Union.

According to CAMPOST Chairman, Abraham Sizimboue, through its network of 660.000 offices and five million workers, The Post intends to play a role in the promotion of health and socio-economic development. This, going by him, will be done through its capacity to communicate with millions of people each day.

The programme is divided into three phases; the first phase involves seven countries out of the 191 member countries namely; Brazil, Burkina Faso, China, Estonia, Mali, Nigeria and Cameroon. Cameroon was chosen first to run the campaign. The second phase, in 2010 shall involve all the other member countries of UPU.

In 2011, the final phase shall have all UPU member countries, commemorating the 30th anniversary of the discovery of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, HIV. The Chairman pointed out that, Cameroon, like most other countries, has a prevalence rate which calls for concern. Recent data shows that 5 percent of the people aged 15 – 49 are infected. "With more than 7,400 new cases of HIV infected persons each day, it is urgent to intensify the efforts of prevention," declared Michel Sidibe, the Executive Director of UNAIDS.

The Post learnt that, local partners in collaboration with CAMPOST for this campaign such as CNLS and BIT each have sent in their contributions. Three thousand female condoms were supplied by CNLS. CAMPOST has printed 15.000 copies of tracks with information and contact for more information on HIV/AIDS,  (12.000 in English and 13.000 in French), in addition to 7.000 provided by the International Union for HIV prevention, According to the CAMPOST officials, banners have been printed alongside posters to be pasted in each region as a means of sensitisation.

It should be noted that free HIV/AIDS screening was also carried out at post offices of three major cities in the country; Yaoundé, Douala and Bafoussam, as part of the campaign. The CAMPOST Chairman said: "It is crucial to sensitise the population on HIV/AIDS because it touches a large part of the population and we are happy to contribute in such an important campaign." CAMPOST hopes this initiative shall have an impact in curbing the HIV prevalence rate at the national level.

He said an internal communication strategy to reach all workers through service notes and debate forums has been organised. "Our employees and their families are also touched by HIV/AIDS. Those in good health will contribute to a better future for their families and a good functioning of the Postal Network worldwide," said Philips J. Jennings, Secretary General of UNI Global Union.

(ASMAC Student On Internship)

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