MARCH 2010 BULLETIN OF BCCSDR
Dear members and well wishers of the Bamenda Coordinating Centre for Studies in Disability and Rehabilitation (BCCSDR), we are pleased to once more come out with our monthly bulletin to keep you posted on what is happening in the Centre. We hope that you will read through the Bulletin carefully and make recommendations where necessary. Once more, thanks for your enormous contributions without which all these activities and achievements would not have happened.
The center had two volunteers from Canada, Kate Suffling, an Occupational Therapist and a member of the Cameroon Working Group and the BCCSDR, and Martine Larochelle, an occupational therapy student of the University of Ottawa on placement. They arrived the center on the 2nd of March 2010 and were here for 4 and 7 weeks respectively. Kate left on April 3 2010 and Martine will leave April 17 2010.
One of their primary activities was further developing our mental health program. Kate provided a series of workshops with the assistance of Martine LaRochelle. The workshops were offered in the week of March 15th to 19th . The topics included Psychotic disorders, Mood disorders, Anxiety disorders, Addictions, Suicide, Ethics, and a Panel discussion on Recovery. Introductory sessions were held at the Bamenda Counseling Centre, Mbingo Baptist Hospital, CEFED Santa and the BCCSDR. Martine assisted Kate with the workshops, gave two presentations, and tutored members of the mental health workshops on how to use the yahoo groups
Kate and Martine were also involved in other projects around the Region notably the Mobility and Toileting Project in Mbingo.
Martine has been involved in the restructuring of the curriculum for the “Kids’ Camp,. She has also assisted the Emmaus Centre (a mental health Home in Bamenda) on how to plan the activities and days of their clients. She is also assisting the Bamenda Counseling Centre
Kate also developed the following documents that volunteers could use while in the Centre:
• Guidelines for students/volunteer-led workshops and seminars
• Exit report template for BCCSDR volunteers and students
• Emergency preparedness form for volunteers
• Volunteer application form
Raw data collected from the field during the Prevalence study is now entered into an excel spreadsheet. Staff of the Centre shall be trained on how to enter data using Epi-Info. This is the program that will be used to analyze the data, this software is widely used internationally to analysis this type of data..
The Best Practices Guideline project too is going on. The Vocational Rehabilitation group had their first meeting on the 16 of March. They discussed on so many things including their scope statement. The Mental Health Best Practice group has been formed and they held their first meeting on the 23rd March 2010 at the Center with 4 members in attendance. Kate was instrumental in the formation of this group and she is a member.
A focus group discussion shall take place at the Centre on April 9 2010 to evaluate the first year of the Best Practice Guideline project. Interviews will also be organized for those who will not be able to attend the focus group discussions.
Other research projects are being planned, and we welcome ideas from the community about research that needs to be done.
The focus on educational activities continues. As described above, we held a dynamic series of educational activities on mental health and mental illness. Workshop began at the center with introductory sessions held in Mbingo Baptist Hospital, Counseling Clinic Nkwen and CEFED Santa. About 130 persons attended the introductory sessions with 63 of these attending at the BCCSDR. About 25 persons attended each of the workshops and participants came from different organizations including the Cameroon Baptist Convention, Centre for Rehabilitation and Abolition of Torture (CRAT), Emmaus House and Women in Action (WA) Cameroon. The Adminstrative Assistant assisted in informing members and other organsiations about the workshop, help with photocopies of note, and other logistical duties.
The response to the seminars was very good and people seemed eager to see more services and awareness on mental health. We do plan to continue to develop the program.
The first inclusive kids camp for the year was offered by Anjonga Emmanuel, the Administrative Assistant and Martine LaRochell. New and more interactive curriculum developed by the Centre with the assistance of Martine. Innovative ideas were brought to the camp as all activities of it were related to disability. This was to make the kids better understand disability issues. Each week had a theme on a particular disability. This camp lasted for four weeks instead of the normal six weeks. The last week of the camp saw an integration of all the activities and discussions of the first three weeks.
This camp was more challenging than previous sessions, with about 15-20 kids in attendance amongst whom were 6 kids with disability. The most challenging task was to find ways to include a child who had multiple disabilities (hearing, vision and speech impairments). Some Persons with Disabilities were invited to come and share their experience with the children during the formal closing ceremony of the camp. This really made the children to see ability in disability.
The Board meeting for the month of April held in the Conference Room of the Centre on the 1st of April 2010. How many Board members in attendance? Kate and Martine attended the meeting. They were both impressed with the deliberations.
The center joined women with disabilities to celebrate the International Womens Day 2010. Kate, Martine and Anjonga Emmanuel took part in the Bamenda march past with women with disabilities. Messages and slogans for change to make the North West Region an inclusive society were prepared by the center and these women with disabilities carried them as they marched. This was a good opportunity to advocate for change.
Two officials from the Control Brigade of the Regional Delegation of Social Affairs, the Chief of Control Brigade, Mr. Ache Aaron, and Mr. Asanji Godlove, were in the Centre on March 19th 2010. The purpose of their visit was for administrative and technical control mission from the delegation. Their reactions and impressions about the center were positive as they thanked the Executive Director for all the work he and his team are doing and told management that the Regional Delegation hopes to cooperate more with the Centre in future. The working visit lasted for about 2 hours.
The Executive Director went on a 10 days vacation from the 22nd to 31st of March 2010. During this time the centers activities went on smoothly.
Each month we provide information about a couple of internet resources and highlight a book in our library.
From the BCCSDR Library:
Laura E. Berk. Child Development 4th ed., 1997.
This book portrays the complexities of child development that captures the interest of all those interested to learn more about this topic. We have a copy of this very useful book available in the library.
This website has some interesting information about using the ICF checklist. Now that we are about to analyze the data from the field members can update their knowledge on
• Understand ICF’s model and structure
• Appreciate importance of standards to disability statistics
• Describe ICF’s structure and coding for population data collection
Thanks for reading and watch out for April edition.