The campaign among long-distance truck drivers was launched in Awae near Yaoundé on Sunday May 31, 2015. “Beware of AIDS!” was the song on the lips of people who thronged the truck park in Awae in the Mefou and Afamba Division of the Centre Region on Sunday, May 31, 2015. The event was the official launch of the fight against HIV/AIDS among long-distance truck drivers.
Speaking at the occasion, the Minister of Public Health, André Mama Fouda, said the choice of Awae to launch the campaign was not by chance as it has a busy truck station for trucks travelling to the Northern part of Cameroon and the Central African Republic. He said the campaign was a demonstration of the efforts of government to care for vulnerable people. He disclosed that the campaign has so far helped in identifying the target population which is truck drivers who spend at least six nights out of their homes, thus making them vulnerable to HIV/AIDS infection. Minister André Mama Fouda was accompanied by the visiting Executive Director of ONUSIDA, Michel Sidibe. Michel Sidibe said the campaign is an extraordinary opportunity to give a new face to the campaign for the fight against HIV/AIDS. He said the campaign is a continuous fight to equip truck drivers to with knowledge to negotiate their sexuality in a responsible manner.
The campaign aims at sensitising truck drivers and their partners on the need for the correct use of condoms in order to reduce the risk of new HIV infections.Sunday’s event was marked by the unveiling of a sensitisation billboard on the Yaounde-Bertoua highway. The billboard will help sensitise drivers on the need to protect themselves against HIIV/AIDS and to let them know the distance they have covered and what is left. Conceived and implemented by the National Union for Truck Drivers (UNCPC), the campaign proposes a “seat belt,” another kind of condom as a tool of protection and security against HIV/AIDS and Sexually-transmissible Diseases.
The campaign has two major phases: the placing of 34 roadside billboards of 4m x 3m each at stoppage points of trucks on major highways in the 10 regions of Cameroon. The initiative will also see the production and distribution of a CD with awareness sketches by top Cameroonian satirists such as Major Asse, Moustik, Le Karismatique and Edoudoua Non-glacé. The campaign is in line with the regional approach implemented by the Cameroon Association for Social Marketing (ACMS) with OCEAC member countries.