Working in Harmony

  • Published Date: October 2016
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During the implementation of previous Global Fund (GF) grants, Cameroon’s National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) struggled to successfully coordinate and implement community activities in the fight against malaria. In the absence of a strategy to harmonize community activities, the NMCP was challenged to monitor community health workers and align partners working to fight HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria at the community level. Although Cameroon’s current malaria grant (which was signed by the MOH and Ministry of Finance and the GF in February 2015) included a new approach, without an integrated strategy across the three disease areas, the NMCP was still unable to operationalize community activities in certain regions.

Recognizing the importance of an integrated effort to fight HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria at the community level, the NMCP led the effort to develop a strategy from November 2015 to May 2016. The NMCP established a dedicated team--including staff from the NMCP, the HIV and TB programs, and GF Sub-recipients--to address issues related to the implementation of community activities while the strategy is being finalized.

For the first time in Cameroon, a joint strategy for community activities will be implemented by the NMCP in partnership with the National Council for the Fight against AIDS (CNLS) and the National Program against Tuberculosis (PNLT). This integrated strategy document will guide implementation of community interventions for the three programs funded by the GF, under the supervision of the Ministry of Health’s Directorate for Strategic Operations and Health Technologies (DOSTS). The strategy includes an implementation framework with joint technical approaches, cost sharing arrangements, and a minimum package of activities by disease area.

The LMG Project Senior Technical Advisor played a crucial role in this process by identifying solutions to challenges encountered by each program in the implementation of community activities, harmonizing activities from each of the three programs, and helping to develop the strategy document. According to the NMCP’s Permanent Secretary, Dr. Achu, the strategy document will “facilitate the joint and harmonized implementation of community activities in health regions and districts, reduce the number of actors involved in community activities, address challenges to monitoring and coordination, and prepare versatile community health workers trained in all three disease areas and other areas such as diarrhea.” The strategy, which is currently in the implementation phase, marks an important milestone in terms of coordination between the three programs, furthering the goals of each program to fight against disease in Cameroon.