Cuso International launches COVID-19 rapid response project in rural Cameroon

Students demonstrate a hand washing device at a high school in Pouma, Cameroon.

Yaoundé, Cameroon—The COVID-19 pandemic is increasingly gaining ground in remote areas of Cameroon, as the country recently passed 18,000 positive cases of coronavirus. With low level access to formal health care, medical materials or preventative resources, there is danger of further outbreak. To get ahead of this risk, Cuso International has launched a rapid response project targeting areas where the need is greatest.

Thanks to funding and support from the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, managed by the Canadian High-Commission in Yaoundé, this project will help communities in the Centre, Littoral, East and South regions of Cameroon flatten the curve.

“The response focuses on women, who traditionally are less exposed to information and who, because of their mobility outside their households in search of subsistence, are at high risk of contracting the disease,” said Ginette Sindeu, Cuso Program Officer in Cameroon. “Awareness-raising in local languages through door-to-door visits and in the women’s empowerment centres will increase women’s chances of having access to quality information.”

Four women’s empowerment centres are directly involved in the project and Cuso is distributing hygiene and protection kits to health workers and centres, families and schools.

“There have been several confirmed cases of nurses and health workers contracting the disease by treating patients without protection, as most health facilities do not have protective equipment,” said Sindeu.

Local women are being hired and trained to manufacture the protection kits, allowing distribution to continue throughout the project and after its completion.

“The training in the manufacture of preventive kits—masks and soaps—in the women’s centres not only contributes to women’s economic empowerment but also involves them in the response plan against the disease,” said Sindeu. “Very often in charge of their households from a health point of view, these women will be able to disseminate all their knowledge about COVID-19 within their households and be agents for spreading information in their localities.”

Cuso is leading the training of health workers, community members, partner organizations, radio hosts and schools on COVID-19 prevention, symptoms and consequences.

READ MORE: Flattening the curve in Cameroon

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About Cuso International

Cuso International is a Canadian not-for-profit organization focused on ending poverty and inequality. Cuso works with local partners to amplify their impact in the areas of gender equality, women and girls’ empowerment, and improved economic opportunities for youth. Learn more about Cuso’s impact at cusointernational.org.

Media Contacts

To schedule an interview or for more information, please contact:

Ginette Sindeu, Program Officer | Yaoundé, Cameroon
ginette.sindeu@cusointernational.org | +237 696 84 99 12

Jessica Cunha, Communications Officer | Ottawa, Canada
jessica.cunha@cusointernational.org | 613-829-7445 x 346 | +1-888-434-2876 x 346