The PAMJ Blog

The Official blog of the Pan African Medical Journal

An understanding of the Cameroon Medical Students Association (CAMSA) and its goals

27 Sep 2022 / Interview

In general, what will you say is CAMSA, why and when was it created?

There are so many ways to describe CAMSA, it is more than being just recognized as a non-governmental or non-profit organization but rather a family of medical students who all share the same passion, view and interests which are to ensure the next generation of healthcare professionals are well trained and equipped to provide optimal patient care. But basically, CAMSA stands for the Cameroon Medical Students’ Association, acting as medical students’ voice across the national territory.

CAMSA was founded in October 2016. By July 2018, it had obtained legislation and currently maintains 6 Local Member Associations (LMA) across 5 regions representing a network of thousands of Cameroon Medical Students.

CAMSA has a vision and objectives. It envisions a nation in which Cameroonian medical students unite for global health and are equipped with knowledge, skills and values to take on health leadership roles locally and globally for sustainable development and a future healthier society, so it was created just for that purpose; to gather medical students all around Cameroon and to empower them through various opportunities.

How often do you organize these CAMSA gatherings and what’s the aim?

The general assembly is one of our most important annual gatherings since it is the highest authority and decision-making body of our association. General assemblies act as platforms through which students from all around the national territory can meet, unite and grow through events and activities such as capacity building, academic exchanges and networking. So each year, during the first CAMSA executive board meeting, a chair organizing Committee is appointed and is in charge of recruiting a Committee and gathering us at the end of the year, with time we intend to leave this responsibility to one of our local medical students’ association when they are ready to host. So far, 2 such events have been held, each in a different locality with the 1st ever general assembly having been organized in Douala and the 2nd in Yaounde.

Does the CAMSA assembly focus on a particular area of health and how is it beneficial to participants?

The CAMSA general assembly doesn’t focus on particular health-related areas although CAMSA has a Standing Committee on Public Health which dedicates itself to public health-related aspects as well as a CAMSA national health week focused on sensitization with respect to diverse health-related problems in the country and with the creation of a program aimed at bringing a multidisciplinary response targeting “A nation filled with healthy and productive people”. As stated earlier, GAs such as this one provides a meeting ground for exchange, networking, learning and growth which are all healthy and beneficial to the participants as well as a new room for great opportunities for them to showcase their skills or acquire new skills such as leadership and public speaking skills. The GA usually hosts a conference that occurs around a theme, this theme is usually chosen based on the current health or educational issues and needs

In summary, tell us about the recent CAMSA general assembly which was held from the 29th of august to the 04th of September and what you envisage for the next one if there is

CAMSA’s 2nd general assembly was a memorable event that had already been conceived during the 1st GA hence providing enough room for preparations. The event had as theme “Healthcare students today, Cameroon healthcare professionals of tomorrow” and spanned from the 29th of August to the 04th of September. It was a great success because of contributions in terms of time, energy, sacrifice and commitment from the organizing committee, members, participants, partners and doctors who came to show their support and participation. The general assembly was divided into 3 phases: A Pre-general assembly, which was a 3-day event that took place from the 29th to the 31st of August, and a general assembly proper which also took place in 3 days, from the 01st to the 03rd of September and a Post-general which took place on the 4th of September.

The Pre-general assembly was a capacity-building event aimed at enabling medical students who came from all around to work together and achieve the goals and objectives of different workshops. Such that they had to collaborate and share based on their regional competencies and experiences all directed towards achieving CAMSA sustainability. It saw participants receive two training sessions; one where new trainers were being trained (Training New Trainers, TNT) sessions and another on Public Health Leadership. Overall, it was a fun and beautiful experience which saw the participants grow and engage themselves in various activities and receive certificates of participation upon completion of the event. On the last day of the event was a symposium on research aimed at encouraging medical students to get involved in research and publishing as well as guidelines.

The general assembly proper saw the different standing committees introduce themselves through presentations as well as shed more light on what they do. The major highlights of the 1st day of the general assembly proper above were the standing committee sessions involving the Standing Committee (SCs) on Professional Exchange (SCOPE), Research Exchange (SCORE), Public Health (SCOPH), Medical Education (SCOME) and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights including HIV/AIDS (SCORA) as well as a presentation from the Pan African Medical Journal, PAMJ and the 2nd edition of the national medical tournament which saw medical students from individual faculties taking part in a competition testing their pre-clinical and clinical knowledge and finally the opening ceremony of the general assembly. Subsequently, there was a general conference day having as the theme “Healthcare students today, Cameroon Healthcare professionals of Tomorrow. It had 4 more subthemes covering sports, benefits of professional exchange programs, national policy writing and implementation and the importance of interprofessional practices and the role of the caregiver in patient follow-up. Wonderful panelists ensured there was a smooth connection with the audience and it was very interactive. The rest of the day was filled with activity fairs and cultural displays in traditional outfits. The last day of the event focused on all plenary sessions, reports from the outgoing executive board and finally the elections of the members of the new executive board for the term 2022/2023.

The last part of the General assembly saw participants go to the dreamy land of Sanaga beach lodge for tourism and socials, it was a fun-filled and light day full of exchanges and smiles and yet many more memories.

There will definitely be a next General Assembly but the chair has not yet been appointed (this is usually done during the first Executive Board Meeting). It’s only after this person is appointed that the theme, venue and everything else is decided.

Pan African Medical Journal

This article is published by the editorial office of the PAMJ (KENYA)

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