Women4GlobalFund (W4GF) met Angele Mouangue from the Dorcas Orphanage Center in Cameroon at the WGF workshop on Strengthening and Integrating TB & Malaria within the HIV Gender Response in December 2015.
At the end of the workshop, participants were asked to develop three commitments – what they would do once returning home; 3 months later; and 6 months later. Angele, inspired by the workshop, returned home and acted on her commitment to become more engaged in working with her community.
During December 2015 – Angele worked with two groups in two different villages addressing issues around malaria, including basics on malaria, how to prevent and how to treat it (especially for children under 5 and for pregnant women who are most at risk).
In Mutengene, 69 women attended the discussion (all widows) and were grateful for the information they received much of which was shockingly unknown. Out of 69 women – none were aware of the free diagnostic and treatment options for the children under 5 years for malaria in Mutengene. Women attested that they have to pay for ‘free’ services if they attend hospitals with their children or grandchildren with malaria.
Out of 69 participants – 60 received free mosquito nets distributed by the Ministry of Public Health, but only five women utilised the nets because most had not been shown how to use or install the nets. After a demonstration, women felt comfortable to use the nets and a rendezvous was made with an elderly woman who was unable to do the installation herself.
Angele says, “The next challenge will be to share with local authorities these findings and let them know that women are uninformed about what should be freely provided!”
Noteworthy is that the average age of participants was 70 years of age but Angele realised that they are fully capable of claiming their rights and are bold in defending their rights once they understand their rights and are informed. Women left confident and ready to access services and demand that they be ‘free’ given that malaria is a serious concerned. “We will not be cheated anymore; we now know what should be freely given to us”.
Following the first gathering, the information was shared with other groups and Angele was invited to another group of 40 widows in a neighbouring town called Likumba. Angele aims to sensitise at least 500 women in the next six months as well as 300 young people.
Angele funds this work on her own with 20% of funds coming directly from the community through staple products, which are redistributed through the orphanage back to the community. Angele became passionate about malaria after a child in her care died from malaria in the orphanage she runs.
Following a visit, distribution of mosquito nets and sensitisation by Malaria No More the rate of malaria among children in the orphanage, which was high (each month at least 2 to 3 children affected), dropped to only one case after two months. It is because of the impact and results that Angele became a malaria prevention advocate.
Angele stresses that attending the W4GF workshop greatly empowered Angele to also talk more about key populations and HIV and TB and Angele hopes to integrate all of this into her work moving forward.
Angele Mouangue lives in Cameroon and has been a widow since 2007. Angele is a mother of 4 children and is a passionate philanthropist who strives to bring hope to and defend the rights of destitute communities specially women and young people. Angele is currently a senior staff person in an Electric company where she has worked for the past 33 years and is due to retire in April 2016. After 5 years of supporting abandoned and sick Angele opened the Dorcas Orphanage Centre in 2005 – she is excited to continue with this work post retirement.