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Book: “Communicable Diseases for School and Community Health Promotion” by Pr. Martin Ayim

“Our youths are dying in numbers due to HIV/AIDS. Cholera is resurging in developing countries. The Old are burying the young, a reversal of trend when the young should be burying the Old.  Lack of Education being at the root is the real motivation for my writing my book on “Communicable Diseases for School and Community Health Promotion.” After reading the above quote in a forum I belong to, I could not help but introduce you to this new book, A MUST HAVE,  written by Pr. Martin Ayim, Ph.D., MPH, CHES, MCHES Professor of Health Education.

I contacted Pr. Ayim to request an interview and without hesitation, he took some time off of his busy schedule to grant us this interview. Pr. Ayim’s book is one of the books that should be readily available in all schools and universities, home, public libraries, and bookstores across Cameroon, and in Africa. Why should you buy this book? You may ask. The answer is simple and straightforward. At last, here is a book that will help government entities, public health decision makers, Dean of medicine in universities and colleges, school principals, educators, etc. to shape a comprehensive plan to define health policies, school curriculum, as well as for self education in the areas of “Communicable Diseases.” read on…

CWN: Pr Ayim, Happy New Year 2012! and congratulations on your new book. Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Happy New Year to you to. My philosophy in Community Service and academics is captured by this quote by Einstein “The aim of education must be the training of independently acting and thinking individuals who, however, see in the service to the community their highest life problem.”–Albert Einstein.

CWN: What are “Communicable Diseases”, and how does one prevents them?

Communicable diseases are diseases that are transmissible from Person to Person, or from animals to persons, directly or indirectly. They are caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, metazoa/protozoa termed infectious agents. The focus of Chapter one is to define and clarify these terms in contemporary ways to set the pace for the language of epidemiology.

CWN: Why do we need a book that specializes in “Communicable Diseases?

Our youths are dying in numbers due to HIV/AIDS. Cholera is resurging in developing countries. The Old are burying the young, a reversal of trend when the young should be burying the Old.  Lack of Education being at the root is the real motivation for my writing my book on “Communicable Diseases for School and Community Health Promotion”. While in Nursing School Bamenda, we had a Community outreach session in 1979 and I remember how difficult it was in Bambui to convince locals that Worms are not part of the gastrointestinal tract. From then, I made up my mind to set out to where I am (USA) and to do what I have started (write books to start a Curriculum) to address the health education problem in developing countries in a culture-appropriate , age-appropriate, and readability-appropriate manner. Health education messages must be tailored in cognizance of Cultural values. I feel it is time to take health education to our Schools as part of the Curriculum. This book is tailored to readability level from Form FIVE. Someone out there should advocate for Governments to adopt this book and make it mandatory for schools and professional institutions,community health programs, & Universities in the Nation. There is NEED! We have to start somewhere to address this problem holistically through COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL HEALTH EDUCATION, not only lament about it. I can  provide leadership in this direction. It is coming from the HEART. Yes, our youths need vigorous and, well tailored sequential education. Knowledge is Power. I will say more to excite you during my upcoming Book Presentations and signings because I have thought this through carefully for my 20 years of teaching at Grambling State University, where I have successfully built a Health Promotion Academic Program from scratch and graduated Students in it with BS degrees. It is a communicable disease prevention journey I have started for developing countries. Stay tuned for my book presentations in your area and come prepared to take on a new challenge to Community Service through Academia. Get a copy of the book and you will be glad you did to know how to prevent 132 communicable diseases.

CWN: How many books have you written? And who should read this book?

I stayed focus for why I left Bamenda to America. As I progressed from BS Public Health Administration at Indiana to, MPH, then Ph.D in Health Education at Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas, I always sought for answers to this problem. Therefore, my first book was my Dissertation titled ” A Comparison of Cultural Perceptions between the Widikum and Chamba Ethnic groups of Cameroon”. I remember friends said it will be difficult to gather data, or get permission to do this. I stayed firm and told them I will prove them wrong. I went to Washington DC and spoke face to face with the then Ambassador Pondi, then wrote to the then Minister of Health Joseph Owona and, of course, I received a reply and permission for the study in 1992. I was in Bamenda under difficult circumstances but successfully gathered my data, thanks to overwhelming cooperation of the Fon of Bali and the Fon of Guzang and the Fon of Widikum. The main reason for braving this was that, If I left home because I saw a need, it made sense to go back conduct research and document facts for further practical work. As I finished the Ph.D in 1993, I went to the University of Buea and met the then VC, Dr. Njeuma, who slapped me on my face that Cameroon had no money to employ me, even when I chose to come on Summers. You can imagine educating yourself on no Government scholarship and be given such an answer. Believe me, I told her a few angry things.

I then made up my mind to teach in a Historically Black University in the USA, turning down offers from others, because I wanted to feel aligned with my philosophy of community service. This book, “Communicable Diseases for School and Community Health Promotion” is the second in my profession and the centerpiece for solving the problem that I diagnosed before going to America in 1984. Every person who can read this book is encouraged to so, because though written in a textbook format, it appeals to ALL and SUNDRY across the board. At some point it will be translated to other languages to reach a wider audience. The third publication is a model I developed for planning Community Health Promotion Programs titled “INDICATE MODEL”. INDICATE is an acronym for Identification and Community Assessment, Nurturing and Community Organizing, Decision-Making and Program Planning, Implementation, Coordination and Communication, Appraisal and Community Feedback, Team Building and Inservice Training, and Evaluation. This will be a chapter in the next book” Culture-Based Community Health Promotion”, which is going to hinge heavily on the findings of my dissertation and community organizing.

CWN: You said that “Health education messages must be tailored in cognizance of Cultural values.” What do you mean by that? What example can you provide us to illustrate that statement?

Yes, Health education in a community setting must recognize and respect cultural values, beliefs and practices. To change or modify behaviors, you must do it not through coercion. People want to feel dignified and participate willingly to effect change. Again, my experience in Bambui while a Student Nurse in Bamenda is case in point. We went to the Community and never went to the Fon to seek permission or alert our presence, feeling that since we were Government people, we could just  move on. The people refused to listen to us and of course before we knew, the Fon sent a message inviting us to the palace challenging our presence. We apologized. Thereafter that we had huge crowds attending our educational sessions. One person in the group, an opinion leader challenged us that Worms are normal for any human intestines and that without worms in the stomach, people will die. The people agreed with him and we never succeeded in making our point at that session about how to prevent Intestinal Worms. We went back and made more investigations about it only to discover that what they meant by worms was “Small Intestines”. The lesson here was to identify a few Opinion leaders and talk with them first and then use them to reach out to the people. This would have clarified cultural beliefs and practices of the people saving us the embarrassment we had. This will be the focus of the upcoming book “Culture-Based Community Health Promotion”.

CWN: You are suggesting that health education should start in our schools from Form Five. Why not at a kinder garden level?

Yes I agree, having a curriculum starting from Kindergarten and progressing from General to specifics with a culture appropriate and age-appropriate curriculum is great. By citing Form Five, I was taking into consideration the readability level of this textbook.

CWN: What type of leadership can you provide to our students, and educators, or other interested parties?

One thing must be clear that there are health professionals out there. Sometimes you find them joggling between many other public health responsibilities because of lack of personnel. I remember as a Nurse in Ndu, I was conducting, deliveries at the health center (Midwifery), performing Minor surgical procedures, doing community and school health talks, and screening for diseases, and making prescriptions. Prevention is in three levels-Primary, Secondary and Tertiary. Health Education/Health Promotion as a profession and academic discipline is Primary Prevention. That is prevent the disease before any person even gets it. It hinges on Behavior Modification and Behavior Change. My leadership will be to create a positive collaborative environment to ensure the profession of Health Education/Health Promotion is given its deserved recognition and is aligned with international Standards. Development of a Sound Academic BS /MS Curriculum in Health Education/Health Promotion in the department of Community Health is a must. There is a NEED. In the USA Health Education/Health Promotion is approved as a Profession by the Department of labor. It has its Code of Ethics and National Standards of Practice. Certification is at two levels, CHES for BS, and MCHES for Masters and Ph.D. In Louisiana I served on the State Grade Level Expectation (GLE) Task Force for Health Education. I enjoy being a Health Education/Promotion Professional.

CWN: The Cameroonian government will be interested in working with you if it becomes aware of your expertise. How do you envision cooperating with the branches of the government in charges of public health and education?

I am a People-Oriented Person. Collaboration in service is always the key. No one knows it all, No tree makes a forest. It is important to Utilize SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportuinities and Threats) as guide to functioning. HIV/AIDS is killing our Youths. Cholera is resurging, other communicable diseases abound, Malaria, Schistosimiasis, intestinal parasites etc are there. Primary Prevention (Health Education/Promotion) in Schools and Communities will save lives, increase quality of life, prolong longevity, increase life expectancy, reduce health care costs, boost productivity, and empower people to make intelligent health decisions. This should be at the forefront of any health care delivery system. Good Health is Wealth.

Admin | January 11, 2012 | Cameroonwebnews|

The book is available at: http://www.authorhouse.com/  www.Amazon.com/  and Barnes and Nobles Stores. To order, go here

Pr. Martin Ayim can be contacted at this address: atakyen2002[at]yahoo.com

More about the book and the author:

Press Release Communicable Diseases for School and Community Health Promotion


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