A group of 20 young women garbed in hijabs holding their new-borns gathered at a small integrated health unit in a town Garoua-Boulaï in Cameroon. The session was on importance of vaccination to make the future generation free from various vulnerable diseases.
"Vaccination protects your babies from 14 diseases. Even when you forget the date of your appointment, don't be shy to come with your baby immediately you remember," a mid-aged woman named Mbeutcha Ngantcha Agnes addressed the gathering.
She also addressed herself as the head-in-charge of vaccinating five communities. "This is too much, given that I have to first of all convince the women on the importance of vaccination, before vaccinating their babies," she said.
The multilingual speaker also shared her experience saying that most of the communities are very insecure, hence the work becomes very difficult to convince and make them understand the importance of vaccination. She ensured that "all the children in the region would be vaccinated".
Agnes' challenges were also echoed by Dr. Francis Texang, Head of the Integrated Health Unit at the Gado Badere refugee camp. According to him, the zones like Kpama, Dahio and Bordon are not only difficult to access, the members are often at risk of being kidnapped and killed by unidentified armed men, as reported by Journal du Cameroun.
According to official statistics from the data management Unit for the Expanded Programme on Vaccination, PEV, out of the 224 vaccine storage facilities across the region, only about 90 are functional.