Elijah is a Community Health Volunteer in Cameroon. He started his service November 2013.
In October of 2014, Elijah held a four-day Men as Partners in the village of Gangassaou in the Adamawa region. Together with his counterparts, the local Red Cross chapter president, and a teacher at the local Women’s School, he trained a group of twelve men and women in subjects regarding maternal/child health and local gender roles. One of the sessions, “Palu le Bandit”, focused on men’s roles in preventing malaria in children under five and pregnant women.
The session challenged men to see parasite-carrying mosquitoes as bandits that are infiltrating their homes at night and harming or killing family members. The lack of a mosquito net was compared to an unlocked door, as both permit dangerous bandits to easily enter the home. Because most of the participants firmly believe it is a man’s job to protect the family from harm, this session tied that gender norm to public health by illuminating the responsibility of men in preventing malaria in their communities.
His peers say it best:
“Elijah is committed to helping Cameroon prevent malaria and will participate in the 2015 Malaria Competition. He is organizing a malaria surveying campaign and an art project to promote malaria control. In addition, Elijah will be working with the local Community Heath Workers in his site to promote testing and treatment of malaria.”
Our Two Cents
Elijah we applaud the success of your service in Cameroon. We’ve learned that targeting women or children in isolation doesn’t work. Men, as the head of the household must be involved in the health of the family. Your project did just that and we hope it’s replicated throughout Cameroon and other Peace Corps posts.