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Curtains dropped on the 2015 AIDS-free Holidays campaign in metropolitan Bamenda on September 10, 2015, with strong recommendations for drastic changes in lifestyles to remain healthy. Also, the commitment of the campaign’s initiator, First Lady Chantal Biya, to inspire hope in the future with an AIDS-free generation, was topical. Conceived in 2003 to create awareness and reduce the risk of contamination of Sexually-transmitted Diseases, STIs and HIV/AIDS among young people, AIDS-free Holidays campaigns take credit as annual events that recruit, train and deploy young people to sensitise on behavioral change attitudes.

It was a rare moment for the population of the North West to show gratitude to the First Lady, Founding President of African Synergy Against AIDS and Suffering, and Special UNAIDS Ambassador, Chantal Biya for inspiration and selfless generosity. The Government Delegate to the Bamenda City Council, Ndumu Nji Vincent and Peer Educators, saluted her humanitarian support for the health and welfare of Cameroonians, especially vulnerable groups. 

The Executive Secretary of African Synergy Against AIDS and Suffering, Jean Stephane Biatcha, stressed that First Lady Chantal Biya has a special concern for the health of the nation’s youths, especially during holidays when excesses are common. He said the campaign is a means to educate youths to change behaviour, urging the public to be vigilant and more responsible in the fight against AIDS. Jean Stephane Biatcha urged Peer Educators to rise to expectation because they have become part of the First Lady’s team to fight HIV/AIDS.

North West Governor, Adolphe Lele Lafrique was in the chair when CERAC women, led by their Coordinator, Linda Yang, North West elite and guests, cheered what Jean Stephane Biatcha described as “a fantastic event” in Bamenda. The Governor paid tribute to the First Lady for the regular mobilisation of material and financial support for annual AIDS-free Holiday campaigns in her commitment to have a healthy population for nation-building. Attestations, school reopening parcels and exhibitions, were part of the event.

The 13th edition involved over 500 Peer Educators and it emerged from the Bamenda event that the youths were involved in three weeks of intensive inter-personal communication and group discussions where young people were mobilised to go for voluntary HIV testing and counseling. They also used social media to raise awareness on HIV. “Chicks say no to AIDS,” was the theme of this year’s campaign. The North West Coordinator of the Technical Group for the Fight Against HIV, Dr Gladys Tayong, revealed that the campaign in the region held 37,368 educative discussions after reaching out to 103,700 people. In all, 4,245 people were tested for HIV in the North West Region.

Four Cameroon government ministers appeared at the bedside of babies Davis and Daril to officially reassure the family of government support and proper management of their plight and other Siamese babies staying in the clinic. The highly placed government officials hinted that arrangements have been made for their medical evacuation to Tunisia. Cameroon Concord has gathered that the operation will be carried out in one of the most highly equipped hospitals in the Arab nation. 

At the time of filing in this news item,our health reporter added that, the Chantal Biya Foundation in partnership with the four ministerial departments have agreed to bear the cost of the medical process in Tunisia. Among the government officials who visited the clinic were: André Mama Fouda, Minister of Public Health, Alim Garga Hayatou, Secretary of State for Public Health Management, the Minister for the Promotion of Women and the Family, Marie Thérèse Abena Ondoa and Minister of Social Affairs, Catherine Bakank Mbock.

A medical evacuation plane with seven people on board has reportedly crashed west of Senegal during a flight from Burkina Faso to Dakar. Senegal's civil aviation authority said on Sunday the private plane, operated by Senegalair, which had taken off from Ouagadougou, disappeared from radar screens at 7:08 p.m. (1908 GMT) on Saturday 118 km (74 miles) west of the Senegalese capital.

Senegal's armed forces are conducting a search for the plane, the authority said in a statement. The plane was carrying a French patient, three crew members and medical staff, including a doctor and two nurses. Nationalities of those on board included two Algerians and a citizen of Congo, although the aviation authority did not specify whether it referred to the Democratic Republic of Congo or Republic of Congo. 

The plane, chartered by SOS Medicin Senegal, left Ouagadougou at 4.30 p.m. (1630 GMT), Burkina Faso's Minister of Transport, Daouda Traore, told Reuters. Ouagadougou is around 1,700 km (1,080 miles) southeast of the capital city Dakar. Dakar features the Medina district with its interesting traditional theme as well the esteemed Musee Theodore Monod, which displays unique African art. Senegal is located on Africa’s west coast and is known for its heritage and natural attractions.

The people of Mora in the Mayo Sava Division of the Far-North Region have received a consignment of sanitation kits donated by a Non-Governmental Organization, Plan International Cameroon. The donation was made on 3rd September 2015 in the locality of Mora Massi during a ceremony chaired by the Second Assistant S.D.O to launch a five-day sensitization campaign on hygiene and sanitation.

The package included soap, buckets and disinfectants and comes after a recent case of Cholera in the area was identified in the area. According to the Field Coordinator of Plan International Cameroon, Tchado Julienne the campaign is part of a project to ameliorate the living condition of the Central African and Nigerian refugees as well as the indigenous people of the Far-North Region. 

The Sultan of Mandara, His Majesty, Moutzigue guided the officials as they visited toilets under construction and water pumps in the area. In the meantime, a demonstration on the washing of hands with soap and the purification of water highlighted the ceremony, coupled with animations from traditional dance group. It is sponsored through a partnership between Plan International Cameroon and the Canada Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.

Some 2500 patients with eye defects in Garoua have benefited from a free consultation that ended on 2nd September 2015. This was thanks to a one-week health campaign organised at the Garoua Central Hospital by the International Islamic Relief Organization of the Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia. During the health drive, 500 patients mostly those with serious cases of cataract were operated upon and given medication and lenses free of charge. 

The Head of the medical team said the campaign is the fruit of cooperation between Cameroon and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He added that the blindness prevention program to treat cataract is their own way of extending solidarity to the needy especially those of forty years and above. The patients on their part expressed gratitude to the Minister of Public Health for facilitating cooperation with the Saudi Arabian team.

The UK’s health secretary has ordered a probe into breach of the privacy of hundreds of HIV patients whose confidential details were leaked by a clinic in London. Jeremy Hunt called for the inquiry after the 56 Dean Street clinic in London accidentally posted names and email addresses of some 780 HIV patients on its online newsletter on Tuesday. Hunt said the Care Quality Commission would conduct “a thorough and independent review” of data security measures in the NHS. “The inquiry was vital to ensure patients could be confident that the health service will properly safeguard details of their health and treatment records”. 

The clinic, which is run by the Chelsea and Westminster NHS trust, apologized for disclosing names of the patients and admitted on Wednesday that the breach was a "devastating". Alan McOwan, the clinic's consultant and lead clinician called the incident as human error stressing that not everybody on the list had HIV. “We deleted the email as soon as we realized what had happened. If it is still in your inbox please delete it immediately. Clearly this is completely unacceptable. We are urgently investigating how this has happened and I promise you that we will take steps to ensure it never happens again. We will send you the outcome of the investigation,” McOwan said in a message.

The incident has already stoked tensions at political as well as public levels with many calling it a breach of privacy and that the National Health Service is losing the trust. “The truth is that we will throw this all away if we lose the public’s trust in our ability to look after their personal data securely,” Hunt said during NHS England’s annual conference in Manchester. Many HIV positive patients who have so far kept their disease secret from their relatives and friends have expressed concerns over revelations of their identities. “I find it impossible to believe that in this day and age this can happen. I was able to scroll down the list and identify the names of a number of people who I knew, some of whom I was unaware of their status,” Rob Sherrard, an HIV patient who has attended the clinic for two and a half years, said.

Privacy watchdog could levy fines on clinic disclosing secret files. Another patient told the Guardian that he was worried that the list of all those affected might end up on the internet. Although clinic has apologized for what it called “a human error” but the privacy watchdog can impose about half a million pound fine on the clinic for data breaches.

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Cameroon Concord  is an online publication covering and reporting on  local and world news, sports, entertainment, politics, business, and religious news. Serving Cameroonians .

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