Cameroon: Clinton Foundation, MTN to combat HIV infection in Cameroonian newborns

Douala, Cameroon (PANA) - The Clinton Foundation and MTN Cameroon have signed a partnership agreement to "save 10,000 newborns infected by HIV/AIDS in Cameroon over the three years during which the partnership will be implemented," PANA learnt Tuesday from reliable sources.

"We started based on the observation that between the time the sample is taken from a newborn and the results of HIV testing, it usually takes several months, giving the disease the possibility to spread and strike down patients. We are launching a crusade against the late diagnosis using a system called 'SMS Printer', " Melvin Akam, Executive Secretary of the MTN Foundation Cameroon, said.

The SMS Printer process is a kind of mobile phone with a built-in mini printer that will be installed by the Clinton Foundation in 682 sampling centres spread across Cameroon, including in the most remote rural areas.

The mission of the MTN Cameroon Foundation is to implement its network which covers 98 percent of the national territory and make its facilities available to the Clinton Foundation to enable and instant SMS transmission and the printing of test results performed on newborns by the only two specialized laboratories in the country: the International Agency for Research Chantal Biya (CIRCB) in Yaoundé, and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Mutengene, Southwest Cameroon.

Indeed, the SMS Printer will make results available as soon as possible to allow the equally rapid treatment of newborns tested positive for HIV, Melvin Akam reassures.

"Because", he says, "sometimes we lost sight of a child yet infected at birth or the child himself dies without having been under treatment, because we do not know their status," said the Cameroon MTN Foundation for whom the SMS Printer is a "real revolution."

According to MTN Cameroon Foundation, "Studies conducted in other countries such as Nigeria and Kenya show that the technology associated with SMS significantly reduces wait times for results of early diagnosis and allows to have the results available when the mother returns to the health center. Similar results were achieved in Malawi, Uganda and Zambia. "

In Cameroon in 2011, AIDS has killed 33,000 people, including 7,300 babies infected at birth from their mothers.

The Clinton Foundation of former U.S. President Bill Clinton, is one of the most active organizations in the prevention against HIV in the world, while Cameroon MTN Foundation is the Cameroon subsidiary of the South African mobile company, Mobile Telephone Network (MTN).

-0- PANA NNM/BEH/JEN/VAO 24June2014

24 june 2014 18:01:17

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