Covid-19 Response: Communicators Acquire Knowledge on Research, Vaccination

Group Picture at ANRS site, Yaoundé

Participants in training session

Journalists and Web influencers drawn from the Northwest, Southwest, East, North and Centre regions attended a 2-Day workshop to understand what it takes to do health research, sitting in session while taking into consideration barrier measures to guard against Covif-19.

Group work 

Taking place on August 3rd and 4th 2021, the session held within a period of a health crisis - Covid-19, with over 15 Participants allowed to assist in the workshop with strict respect of barrier measures applied.

International Technical expert ANRS

Information revealed that human health research has evolved considerably in recent years in Cameroon, with the number of research projects increasing each year.

Perceptions and representations of this research domain are weighed down by public opinion from the Cameroonian community, Political leaders or the local community that needs alot of convincing given the context.

The situation has grown worst with the proliferation of disinformation and malinformation maintained on social networks. This doubt is reinforced when, Pierre Alexandre Sarkis - a 6th year Medicine student - asserts," that it took 30 years to develop the flu vaccine, yet the vaccine against covid-19 only took 18 months."

The objective of this workshop organized by France Recherche Nord and Sud SIDA - HIV Hépatites (ANRS), was to train and equip media influencers on the state of research, research ethics and knowledge on Covid-19/vaccination.

Regarding research, Miriam Niba in charge of Monitoring at ANRS insisted that it is Research is based on integrity and transparency. 

“It is the Minister of Health who generally approves the request for a clinical study. Administrative authorization is very important, even if it is not yet compulsory in Cameroon, because research participants (patients, doctors, nurses) are recruited from hospitals. These documents protect us on the ground”. Miriam Niba. 

"All research supported by ARNS falls within the framework of ethical principles issued by the international community. It respects national laws and specific international texts, ”said Marie Varloteaux, International techniical expert at ANRS. 

"In this center, there are several trades and monitoring, project managers, clinical studies technicians who for the most part guarantee the quality of the results, because ANRS is stepping up it's research work on Covid-19". 

Epicenter Representative in Africa
And lecturer in faculty of Medicine

One the fascilitators, Prof. Yap Boum specifies that Cameroon quickly understood that "containment was not a viable solution for the country in the response to the Covid". That rather "awareness and diagnosis were the best solutions, in order to limit mortality and socio-economic effects". 

Faced with the failure of chloroquine, Cameroonian researchers set up another drug- Doxycov. In addition, Cameroon has over 18 laboratories and 4 others pending for PCR testing of Covid in the ten regions. 

Professor Yap Boum emphasized that "it is clear that traditional medicine must be taken, taken into account in our health system. We need an integrated approach.”

For Raoul Doba from Adamawa is a participant at the workshop and retains key issues. “several things have been retained; ethics and principles, the design of certain communications around scientific research and especially, the untold stories arround covid and its different vaccines".

Valgadine TONGA, one of the trainers revealed that more than 2 billion people have been vaccinated against Covid around the world, which is 27.1% of the world population. The vaccination campaign in Cameroon runs until July 26, 2021.

By Ndefru Melanie


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