In recent times championing conversations on Sexual health is often challenging within our Community and Christian backgrounds due to some cultural beliefs, rituals and ties.
Normalising age appropriate sex education and conversions was at the centre of discussions during the launch of the Sexual Health Summit 2023 and the birth of “COMBI” (a mobile application), an initiative of the Sexual Health Companion, sponsored by Women Deliver.
Dr. Mbakwa Veronica the convener stressed that the “Combi” Application (App) will be a platform to inform the community on data driven valid and verified content. It will fall within the domain of Sexual Health and is anticipated to offer consultation, counselling and pharmacy delivery services in Buea, Cameroon and the world at large.
The youth friendly App according to Mbella Irene, will make it easy for people to command contraceptives online, in all discretion and free from anxiety, fear, stigma or negative tags.
Dr. Ngwashi Christabel on her part reminded the participants and volunteers that the right to sex and that of access to information on Sexual and Reproductive Health is a fundamental Human Right for all in today’s world.
Lois Ngwifen, Founder of the Active Community for Sustainable Development (ACSUDEV) echoed an nth challenge during the experience sharing fora that, people who use contraceptives such as condoms, implants or pills are often tagged as promiscuous or bad in the eyes of the community or within the Church circles.
Besides, the dream of the Adolescent Sexual Health Online Clinic has come to usher in an era of stigma free access to health care services, says Dr. Ngwashi Christabel. She opines that there is a dire need for a mind shift so that all and sundry can strive to look at sex from a positive angle, shunning negative narratives.
Mme. Blessing Serna on her part enjoined the population to treat matters of mental Health with caution and tact, especially when dealing with children below 18years. As a counsellor she dwelt on child safeguarding life surviving principles worthy of use for parents, guardians, religious leaders and teachers.
She affirmed “if your sexual health isn’t balanced, you are mentally unstable”. More so, Mme. Blessing Serna charged the group above to create an enabling environment without being judgemental. A clarion call was given to health care providers whose work relies on the knowledge and trust built overtime with patients which must not be taken for granted.
The ultimate process of healing from traumatic experiences in her opinion will never be accomplished if the depressed patient is not fully committed to heal internally. It starts with winning the battle of the mind she culminated.
Pastor Mrs. Abigail Abamukong sitting in as a Nurse, Panellist and Sunday School Teacher related her struggles, strides as well as success stories with family, patients and children at the Church she pastors.
She further admonished the population to be more welcoming vis a vis case managers when dealing with cases of sexual health, mental health, rape and Gender Base Violence by providing correct information free from cultural sensitivity.
Arika Rose a participant, is one of the volunteers who has embraced the vision of the host Dr. Mbakwa Veronica which makes allusion to the 3 i’s of age appropriate communication which speaks of being Intentional, incidental and inclusive. The creation of the “COMBI” mobile application Tumenta John who attended the event holds, is a stitch in time that saves nine and is equally proof of the fact that Technology can improve access to Healthy sex and age appropriate information.
Honorine CHENG Abuck
Content Creator/Data Journalist