Franck Chi Amabo

2022 IVLP Impact Award Project: Improving COVID-19 Immunization Rate in the Conflict-Affected Town of Buea, CameroonCameroon

Franck is a dynamic field epidemiologist with 8 years of experience in public health surveillance and response at both district and national levels. He is a skilled and hardworking team player with a strong background in changing environments. He works well independently to handle assignments and is always ready to go beyond basic assignments. Franck is a quick learner with excellent computer and language skills. 

IVLP Impact Award Project: Improving COVID-19 Immunization Rates in The Conflict-Affected Town of Buea, Cameroon

The World Bank calls the low COVID-19 vaccination rate in developing countries like Cameroon "absolutely unacceptable" and posing a threat to global health. This project aimed to increase the COVID-19 immunization rate in the conflict-affected town of Buea, South-West region of Cameroon. Specifically, the project:

  • Raised public awareness of COVID-19 and the available vaccines
  • Debunked myths and rumors about vaccination
  • Developed partnerships to improve vaccine uptake

As of Dec. 1, 2021, Cameroon fully vaccinated 4.4% of its target population, compared to the 30% target set by the African Union. These low numbers present a risk to both Cameroonians and to global progress in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and its variants.

Furthermore, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, Cameroon is in a unique situation making it a fragile setting. The country is experiencing armed conflicts in the north with the Boko Haram insurgency, in the west with the Anglophone Crisis and in the east with the Central African Refugees Crisis. These parallel crises serve as further barriers to COVID-19 immunization uptake in Cameroon. This project helped boost immunization uptake by using social media. Two videos dispelling myths and informing the public about the benefits of COVID –19 vaccination were produced and shared on social media. The videos were in pidgin English, the language most commonly spoken by the target audience in Buea Cameroon, but we also subtitled in French and English for wider access, gaining a total viewership of 12,654 people. Additionally, 16 community health workers were trained and given flyers and posters to sensitize the community to the issue. The estimated number of people reached by this project is between 19,200 and 32,000. 

To guarantee the sustainability and continuity of this project after the funding ends there is strategic partnership with the Health, Education, and Research Organization which has a database of 248 volunteers and is familiar with operations in the northwest, southwest and littoral regions of Cameroon. With this collaboration, the activities of this project have the potential of spreading to other towns beyond Buea.

IVLP Exchange Experience 

Franck was a participant in the IVLP Project: Global Health Security - Combatting Infectious Diseases, organized by the U.S. Department of State and Cultural Vistas.

U.S. Communities Visited Virtually 

Sacramento, CA; San Francisco, CA; Washington, DC; Orlando, FL; Kalamazoo, MI; Houston, TX

Country: Cameroon

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