Prepared by Louis MBIBEH.


SMARTPHONES and Visual Impairments: The GRID Network is planning a workshop and the development of materials on the topic of how people with visual impairments and who are blind are using smartphones. If you have information to share, please let us know. We are particularly looking for people in the North West Region who can share their successes – Please contact Dr. Mbibeh Louis [] if you can be a resource person in this topic.


The SPECIAL NEEDS & DISABILITY COMPLIANCE IN BASIC AND HIGHER EDUCATION CONFERENCE was held 23rd & 24th March, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. This conference was for people working in higher education to learn about their obligations to students and staff with disabilities by improving campus-wide access and the use of up-to-date assistive technologies.

Disability and Inclusion in Africa: The Role of Assistive Technology” The 5th AfriNEAD conference will be held in Kumasi, Ghana on the 7th – 9th August 2017 at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

2017 AFREhealth Symposium – August 1-3, Accra, Ghana AFREhealth (an interdisciplinary health professional forum which seeks to improve health care through research, education and capacity building) is convening an African health professional education and research conference for the first time this year. The objectives of the Symposium are to promote Health professional education and research, to promote linkages with health systems and other initiatives and to share experiences. The deadline to submit abstracts is May 31. Early bird registration ends June 30.

Conference of States Parties COSP for the CRPD: The 10th session of the COSP to the CRPD will take place from Tuesday 13 to Thursday 15 June 2017 at UN Headquarters in New York. On Monday 12 June, a Civil Society CRPD Forum will be held to complement the Conference. Most of you are aware that The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is a human rights treaty adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 2006. It calls on states to uphold, promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities as defined in the treaty. Article 40 of the CRPD stipulates that States Parties (signatories to the Convention) shall meet regularly in a Conference of States Parties (COSP) to consider any matter with regard to the implementation of the Convention. Since 2008, the COSP has been held annually at the UN headquarters in New York, covering a range of themes and issues in round-tables, interactive dialogues and side-events. If you are aware of how Cameroon is being represented at these meetings, please let us know so we can report in future editions of the GRID Notebook.


The GRID Network is developing a number of resources that are useful to Disability Inclusive Development work in and out of the Northwest. Stay tuned to get these in the nearest future. For example, we are preparing a list of “12 Key Documents in DID”, a Case study on girls in school that can be used for training purposes,, and 16 stories on girls and women living with disabilities.


The GRID Network will be seeking students for internship during the summer vacation. Stay tuned for a call for expression of interest – Contact Louis Mbibeh for more information.

Download the GRID Notebook #19


Newsletter # 18 – May 8, 2017

This is a special edition about Community Based Rehabilitation in the North West Region of Cameroon.
Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) is an approach to working with people with disabilities to improve quality of life, promote social inclusion, and reduce poverty, in the communities where people live. Many different people and organizations are part of CBR, including people with disabilities, their families, neighborhoods and communities, CBR workers, health and social services workers, and government and non-government organizations.
CBR is about health, education, vocational, and social services as well as human rights and empowerment. CBR was initiated by the World Health Organization following the Declaration of Alma-Ata in 1978, and is now used around the world.
There is a paradigm shift happening in many places – people are changing their perspectives, and moving from CBR to Community Based Inclusive Development (CBID). The CBR Group of the GRID Network is preparing a document about CBR and CBID to explain this shift in more detail.
In this issue of the notebook, we share two CBR/CBID stories. We hope you enjoy them! The GRID Network would love to hear your stories, questions, and comments about CBR and CBID in the North West Region. We know that there are many other success stories.


The Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) services of the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services (CBCHS) organized the CBR Annual Training for 102 CBR volunteers from Monday February 20 to Friday 24, 2017 at the Saint Jerome Pastoral Center, Kumbo.
This year the annual workshop was aimed at strengthening the volunteers’ skills in identification and referral of person living with disabilities (PWDs), raising awareness in disability issues, and the follow up of PWDs referred to services to actually access the different outcomes.
The training brought together trainers from several departments of the CBCHS including Physiotherapy; Eye, Ear Nose and Throat; Mental Health; Palliative and Childhood Cancer departments. It provided them with a very comprehensive package on basic information helpful in the community. The volunteers’ role is to promote the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of disabilities in line with the Health Component of the World Health Organization’s CBR guidelines. (See below for a link to these guidelines.)
Resulting from the partnerships between the CBCHS Socio-Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SEEPD) program and the North West Region Municipal Councils for the purpose of collaborating to promote inclusive development in the region, the Councils have now recruited 81 of these volunteers to work within their municipalities.
Mfon Kilian able to participate in Community life again


Mr. Mfon Kilian is a 34 year old man resident in Noni in Bui Division. He lost his sight as a result of an assault by thieves. He was a bike rider and on September 12, 2013 he was attacked when he was working and his bike was stolen. In order to steal the bike, the thieves used knives to painfully eviscerate his eyes. All medical attempts made in the hospital to rescue the situation failed; consequently Kilian was left completely blind.
Kilian was identified by a CBR staff member with difficulty because after the incident, he was always indoors. He did not want to come out because he was not aware of his environment and thought that he was not helpful to the society. Counseling was done with him, noting that he still had potential which could be helpful to him and the society. The CBR staff developed a training plan for Kilian on Orientation and Mobility skills with a focus on cane techniques, sighted guide techniques, and protective techniques.
Kilian was quick in the acquisition of the skills and as a motivation the CBR staff gave him a mobility cane which he expressed the need to have, but could not afford to buy on his own because of financial difficulties.
Kilian now is involved in community life, goes to church and the market, and visits friends and neighbors in his village with little to no difficulties.
The first time Killian went to the church on his own he was so excited and called the CBR staff on phone to explain where he was and that he was so proud of himself. He said when he came back home and told his family his adventure no one really believed he did all by himself.
He is a very happy man now and does bamboo work to earn a living. Stop by and greet him the next time you are visiting Noni.
Thank you very much for sharing your story, Kilian!

To download this document go to :
By these actions, we in the CBR programs are contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG 1 Ending Poverty, SDG 3 Good Health and Well-Being, SDG 8 Decent Work, and SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities.
You can read more about CBR here and here
You can read more about the Sustainable Development Goals here
The GRID CBR group continues in the process of adapting the WHO Guidelines for the context of the North West Region of Cameroons.
This edition of the GRID Notebook was prepared by Kenchi Joseph and Lynn Cockburn. Thanks for reading! Please let us know if you enjoyed it – And do share it with others.

Newsletter #13 – November 21, 2016

November 23th – 24th, 2016 ~ The 2016 Bamenda Conference on Disability and Rehabilitation This annual event provides an opportunity for people interested in disability, rehabilitation, and disability inclusive development issues, in the North West Region of Cameroon, Africa, and the rest of the world, to come together and share experiences, ideas and recommendations. A range of dynamic and informative speakers will be presenting at this year’s conference. Ample opportunity will be provided for information sharing and professional networking over the 2 days of the conference, in both small and large groups.: Venue is Ntamulung Auditorium, Bamenda
Sports and Sociocultural activities:

December 3, at SENAJES Sports Complex, Mile 90 Mankon, Bamenda in line with the celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2016. Organized by CUAPWD, Social Affairs, Ministry of Sport and Culture, co-sponsored by Empowerment and Disability Inclusive Development Program (EDID) of the CBCHBS. This event will involve Fan Club animation and multiple sport activities like goal ball, hand ball and football matches and Tricycle and wheelchair races will be included. Your participation will go a long way to greatly reduce social stigma and foster the inclusion and well-being of persons with disabilities in the North West Region. There will be a final award of prizes to deserving persons. For more information contact CUAPWD.

The GRID Media and Rehab recently held a workshop to discuss many forms of media and how they can be used in disability inclusive development. Podcasts, radio, hashtags, Instagram and many more were discussed. Please send your recent GRID related articles and hashtags to Mr. Ngawe Yufenyu who is compiling a list to be shared. Use #GRIDNetwork in your posts; More hashtags will be shared in future issues of the GRID Notebook.
The GRID CBR Group recently held a meeting and discussed the global move from “Community based Rehabilitation” to “Community based Inclusive Development”, as well as many other topics. New information and resource sheets will soon be available. For more information, contact Mr. Kenchi Joseph
Tuition free vocational training for women with disabilities:

The Regional Delegation of Women’s Empowerment and the Family (MINPROFF NW) and Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SEEPD) Program of the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services (CBCHS) have launched an initiative to support women and girls living with disabilities to Let’s get the word out and encourage women/girls with disabilities to enrol.
Guidelines for Evidence Use in Policy-Making: Guidelines for Evidence Use in Policy-Making (from Malawi) are now available . They provide an institutional framework for promoting an increased focus on evidence use, skills and tips in understanding the complexity of decision-making. Read more here You can join the Africa Evidence Network here:
AfriNEAD: Want to know more about what is happening with respect to disability issues in Africa? The African Network for Evidence-to-Action on Disability (AfriNEAD) exists to ensure that research contributes to a better quality of life for people with disabilities in Africa. AfriNEAD facilitates networking among researchers, persons with disability, government representatives, business and civil society within the African region as well as with international communities. To effectively realise the rights of persons with disabilities, these stakeholders need to collaborate in the area of disability research. Sign up for regular emails and newsletters:
This edition of the GRID Notebook was prepared by Lynn Cockburn. Thanks for reading! Feel free to share it with others. We welcome submissions

Download the Newsletter #13 – November 21, 2016 from here!

Newsletter #12 – November 7, 2016

The GRID NOTEBOOK is a biweekly newsletter featuring Events, Announcements, News, Resources, and Opportunities you need to know about if you are interested in Rehabilitation and Inclusive Development in the North West Region of Cameroon. To view this issue online, please go to
We are happy to include submissions from people who share a passion for rehabilitation and inclusive development in the North West Region. If you have something to contribute, please send it to

Highlights from  the November 7, 2016 Newsletter.

Special Feature – Mental Health in Cameroon

This issue of the GRID Notebook is devoted to mental health to highlight recent important events in Cameroon. Mental Health has been behind in relation to other areas of health care in Cameroon. There have been few policies, no national treatment guides, and little in the way of training for personnel. The situation is rapidly changing, and in this issue we provide examples of these change initiatives. We can only include a bit of information in these pages – ask around to learn more!

If you feel you or a family member or friend are depressed or have any other mental health issue, please talk with someone you trust and try to get help. Help and support are available in the NWR.

News and Events
grid-1High Level Mental Health Policy Development Conference: A landmark, four day conference was held in Yaounde from the 24th to the 27th of October with invited mental health stakeholders from Government and Non-government officials as well as topic experts. This group deliberated and discussed for long hours – beginning each day at 8 a.m. and working until 7 p.m. or later each evening – to produce a Mental Health policy, a guideline, and a national program for mental health in Cameroon. The Minister of Public Health M. Andre Mama Fouda approved and signed the document on the 27th October, 2016.
As a result of this work, mental health services will become available as part of primary health care, more medications will be available, and other services and training will be developed, including more outreach programs, nursing education and programs to prevent people from ending up on the streets. The roles of traditional healers were also included since they have a significant contribution to mental health and recovery.

GRID members at Yaounde mental health meeting with other representatives
GRID members at Yaounde mental health meeting with other representatives

Several GRID members were part of the deliberations in Yaounde. The GRID Mental Health group (with members in several places in Cameroon and around the world) was very excited to get the breaking news on its Whatsapp group, seeing pictures and on the spot accounts at the end of the session. The Mental Health group will be monitoring the next steps closely to ensure that implementation takes places in the agreed on timelines. For example, one of the GRID Mental Health members, who participated in the event, wrote to the group:

“The discussions were full of different ideas and arguments from morning to night, but it all ended well and was approved. It was an exciting process to be part of.”

World Mental Health Day, October 10th, 2016:

grid-2The theme was “Dignity in Mental Health: Psychological and Mental First Aid to All.” This day was commemorated in several ways in the NWR, to sensitize the public on mental health. The theme for this year’s WMHD was dignity in mental health, psychological and mental first aid for all. In Cameroon and most low and middle income countries, despite the different crisis events, there are very few mental health workers/facilities, and most people needing mental health services do not get it at all. Understanding basic psychological and mental first aid helps to prevent many mental disorders that will arise as a result of crisis situations.
grid-3In light of this, the Family Care Center of the Banso Baptist Hospital, with the support of the mental health group of the GRID Network, provided training and talks in schools, churches, and mosques on how to identify mental disorders and provide psychological first aid that is humane, practical and supportive. Pens were shared to examination classes of schools, posters were pasted up, and brochures distributed for continuous sensitization on mental health. School health clubs were revisited on their club days and shown how to identify mental health problems and provide basic first aid. For more information, contact Anya Nadege Mental Health Nurse at the Family Care Centre, Banso.
100% Jeune Live: A weekly radio show on Abakwa radio – FM 99.0 Tuesdays 4-5 pm, and Saturdays at 11 am. Popular episodes are available online at For November, the show’s theme is Alcohol and drugs – Harmful pleasures and aspects of mental health, well-being, and addiction will be explored. Produced courtesy of ACMS, the show’s focus is on sexual and reproductive health education for youths. For information: Commy Mussa

There are an increasing number of supports in the NWR for people who would like mental health support and psychological counselling. We include a few here – this is not a full list.
Psychological Counselling in Bamenda: One place for professional counselling is the Community Counselling Clinic (CCC) Nkwen. Located in a story building near Finance Junction. Contact Ngoh Mildred, Administrative Assistant,
Alcoholics Anonymous – There is an Alcoholics Anonymous group in Banso. If anyone is interested in starting a group in any other place in the North West Region, information is available. For more information, contact the Head Chaplain, Life Abundant Program (LAP) Bamkikai, Pastor Shey.
BBH (Banso Baptist Hospital) Family Care Center provides counselling in Banso. Contact: Anya Nadege
Emmaus Center in Bamenda – A residential treatment centre operated by Capuchin Friars in centre of Bamenda, located under the offices of the governor and close to the Government Bilingual High School Down Town.
Babungo Integrated Mental Health Care for Humanity Mbenjeh-Babungo. The BIMEHC site at Babessi subdivision, Ndop has several services and activities. Information from Email: or John Tumenta Tel 237 679 834 047
Delegation of Social Affairs NWR – They have been supporting persons with disabilities, including people with persistent mental health issues and intellectual disabilities. More information from Mrs. Grace Ekie Tita
Bamenda Regional Hospital – The hospital has a neurologist who handles patients with epilepsy, and has sophisticated machines like EEG and CT scan for diagnosing epilepsy.
Psychological first aid –The WHO (World Health Organization) has developed a toolkit to help everyone learn about and provide support. You can read more here:

Mental health and Health providers: It is important to remember that all health providers are at risk for experiencing mental health issues, stress, and trauma. Especially in an area like the North West Region, where there are many very difficult situations and very few resources and professional supports, health providers have to cope with situations in which they can feel overwhelmed, powerless, and traumatized. This can be seen as a normal reaction in such difficult situations. If you feel that you are not coping well or would like some support to deal with your own personal mental health issues, please talk with your manager, your colleagues, or any member of the GRID Mental Health group for more information.
Let’s Talk: In November 2016 the WHO launched a one-year campaign called Depression: Let’s Talk. The goal of the campaign is that more people with depression, in all countries, seek and get help. You can get more resources, handouts, and get involved here:
The handouts available from the Let’s Talk page provide general information on depression and how depression can be prevented and treated. They are intended for people who are living with depression themselves or who know someone who is. They include practical advice on what to do.
• Depression: what you should know
• Living with someone with depression?
• Worried that your child is depressed?
• Worried about the future? Preventing depression during your teens and twenties
• Wondering why your new baby is not making you happy?
• Staying positive and preventing depression as you get older
• Do you know someone who may be considering suicide?
• Do you feel like life is not worth living?

Want to know more?
There is a small but growing body of scholarly literature about mental health in Cameroon (some GRID members are authors). Here are some articles that have particular relevance to the NWR.
Atashili, J., Gaynes, B. N., Pence, B. W., Tayong, G., Kats, D., O’Donnell, J. K., … Njamnshi, A. K. (2013). Prevalence, characteristics and correlates of a positive-dementia screen in patients on antiretroviral therapy in Bamenda, Cameroon: a cross-sectional study. BMC Neurology, 13.
Fofuleng Julius Babila (2015). The Challenges of Mental Health Disorder in Cameroon. Dissertation Submitted in fulfilment of the requirement for the Master of Peace and Development Work. Available from: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-47338 . Contact the author: or +46720158568
Gaynes, B. N., Pence, B. W., Atashili, J., O’Donnell, J., Kats, D., & Ndumbe, P. M. (2012). Prevalence and Predictors of Major Depression in HIV-Infected Patients on Antiretroviral Therapy in Bamenda, a Semi-Urban Center in Cameroon. PLoS One, 7(7), e41699.
Kanmogne, G., Kuate, C., Cysique, L., Fonsah, J., Eta, S., Doh, R., … Njamnshi, A. (2010). HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders in sub-Saharan Africa: a pilot study in Cameroon. BMC Neurology, 10(1),
Keugoung, B., Kongnyu, E. T., Meli, J., & Criel, B. (2013). Profile of suicide in rural Cameroon: are health systems doing enough? Tropical Medicine & International Health : TM & IH, 18(8), 985–992.
L’akoa, R. M., Noubiap, J. J. N., Fang, Y., Ntone, F. E., & Kuaban, C. (2013). Prevalence and correlates of depressive symptoms in HIV-positive patients: a cross-sectional study among newly diagnosed patients in Yaoundé, Cameroon. BMC Psychiatry, 13(228), 228.

Njozing, B. N., Edin, K. E., Sebastián, M. S., & Hurtig, A.-K. (2011). Voices from the frontline: counsellors’ perspectives on TB/HIV collaborative activities in the Northwest Region, Cameroon. BMC Health Services Research, 11, 328.
Pemunta, N. V. (2013). The Social Epidemiology and Burden of Malaria in Bali Nyonga, Northwest Cameroon. Health, Culture and Society, 4(1), 20–n/a.
Pence, B. W., Gaynes, B. N., Atashili, J., O’Donnell, J. K., Kats, D., Whetten, K., … Ndumbe, P. (2014). Feasibility, safety, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of measurement-based care depression treatment for HIV patients in Bamenda, Cameroon. AIDS and Behavior, 18(6), 1142–1151.
Pence, B. W., Gaynes, B. N., Atashili, J., O’Donnell, J. K., Tayong, G., Kats, D., … Ndumbe, P. M. (2012). Validity of an interviewer-administered patient health questionnaire-9 to screen for depression in HIV-infected patients in Cameroon. Journal of Affective Disorders, 143(1-3), 208–213.
Suffling K, Cockburn L, and Edwards K. (2014). Tools for the journey from North to South: A collaborative process to develop reflexive global mental health practice. Disability and the Global South. Available from:
Wonkam, A., Mba, C. Z., Mbanya, D., Ngogang, J., Ramesar, R., & Angwafo, F. F. 3rd. (2014). Psychosocial burden of sickle cell disease on parents with an affected child in Cameroon. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 23(2), 192–201.

In Closing:
Everyone has a role to play in improving the mental health in our communities. There is much that is being done, and much still to be done.
We close with some remarks made by observers at the close of last GRID Mental Health group meeting. These reflections are a reminder that all of us, in whatever walk of life, are part of the efforts to have compassion and improve services for those who are suffering:
“I am struck by the optimism in those pioneering this venture. GRID is taking giant strides despite the challenges ahead… The taboo and stigma surrounding mental patients is on the way out in Cameroon.”

“I was very much impressed with the group because we can actually sit and deliberate on issues of mental health and how to cater for those with mental issues. It is very encouraging. We live at a time where many people still attribute mental issues to witchcraft and so they see no need of caring for people with mental disorders. Instead of seeing how they can remedy the situation they tend to stigmatize the individuals. GRID members are actively changing those stigmatizing attitudes.”

DownloadTHE GRID NOTEBOOK #12″ here!

This edition of the GRID Notebook was prepared by Lynn Cockburn, Anya Nadege, Dr. Godlove Ndongdeh, and Commy Mussa.

Thanks for reading! Please share it with others.

Newsletter #8 – September 12, 2016

The GRID NOTEBOOK is a biweekly newsletter featuring Events, Announcements, News, Resources, and Opportunities you need to know about if you are interested in Rehabilitation and Inclusive Development in the North West Region of Cameroon. To view this issue online, please go to
We are happy to include submissions from people who share a passion for rehabilitation and inclusive development in the North West Region. If you have something to contribute, please send it to

Highlights from  the September 12, 2010 Newsletter.


Ruth Acheinegeh at the podium
Ruth Acheinegeh at the podium
  • The 13TH AWID INTERNATIONAL FORUM (Association for Women’s Rights in Development) with the theme Feminist Futures: Building Collective Power for Rights and Justice has just ended in Costa do Sauípe, Bahia, Brazil. The conference held from 8-11 September 2016. We will hear more about it in the days ahead from two great women from the NWR
    who were there! – Ruth Acheinegeh and Comfort Mussa.
  • World Sight Day is coming up on 13th October 2016. This year the theme is “Stronger Together” which fits well with ongoing efforts to improve collaboration in the NWR in the vision care community.
  • The Empowerment and Disability Inclusive Development Program (EDID) of the CBCHS which empowers children and youths with disabilities in Cameroon for inclusive development, has just concluded a 4 day workshop. 60 participants attended from its 25 English and French partner organizations.
  • The Paralympics are on in Brazil. Cameroon is represented! Read about Cameroon’s participation here
  • Inclusive Education The education component of the SEEPD Program has trained 40 participants including Resource Teachers, Lead Persons, and Resource room workers on inclusive practice in education. This was in a 3 day workshop held in Bamenda.


  • The Healthcare Information For All organization HIFA is open to you to join for free! HIFA is a global campaign and professional network with more than 15,000 health professionals, librarians, publishers, researchers, policymakers and others from 2500 organisations in 175 countries,
    interacting on 5 forums in 3 languages.
  • Free Vision Care course available on YouTube: An excellent course on global blindness is now available on YouTube called Global Blindness: Planning and Managing Eye Care Services. It is presented by Dr. Daksha Patel from the International Centre for Eye Health at the London School of
    Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

You can download the Newsletter from the Grid Network Note Books at :

This edition of the GRID Notebook was prepared by Lynn Cockburn, with contributions by Dr. Okwen Marvice, Dr. Josiane Signe, Mr. Didier Demassosso, Mrs. Glory Agho, Ms. Comfort Mussa, and Mr. Awa Jacques Chirac. Thanks for reading! Feel free to share it with others.

Getting started with Communities of Practice

The GRID Network is bringing people together to work on inclusive development and improving rehabilitation service in the North West Region and Cameroon. Together, we are building communities of practice related to several topic areas.

In January 2016, GRID started with rehabilitation, health, and social services practitioners. The GRID Network also includes people from other fields that are part of integrated inclusive development – such as education, economic development, financial and banking sectors, water and sanitation, information and communications technologies, and transportation sectors.

If you are interested in this work and becoming part of our community of practice, please contact us!