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Have You Met Serge? |

A portrait of Serge draped in the Rainbow flag at the Affirmative Action offices in Yaounde, Cameroon

Serge Douomon Yota is one of 11 Speakers that make up the GFAN Speakers Bureau.  Speakers are advocates who are committed to sharing the message to fund the Global Fund.  We believe that people who have seen the impact of the Global Fund in their lives are the most impactful spokespeople for the Global Fund. Each month we will be showcasing a different speaker and their work. 

To see Serge’s bio and photo story visit:  https://www.globalfundadvocatesnetwork.org/campaigns/serge-douomong-yotta/

To better get to know Serge and learn more about the work he does in Cameroon and in his travels, we asked him 5 questions and his answers are posted below.  We hope these answers provide a little more insight into who Serge is and how his work and life intersects with the Global Fund. 


What work or projects have you been doing in the past year that support the work of the Global Fund? 

In December 2019, I was part of ICASA 2019 in Kigali. During this conference, I carried out some interventions in connection with my commitment to advocating for the Global Fund. So, I chaired a special session titled: « Effective engagement of CSO and Key Populations in the Funding mechanism (PEPFAR and Global Fund): What has been achieved and what needs to be done >>.

This was an opportunity to comeback to the Global Fund Replenishment Conference and to remind the crucial role that civil society and GFAN have played in the unprecedented mobilization and contribution of African States. I also stressed the role that key populations should play as actors in the implementation of Global Fund grants for the next three (03) years.

I was also interviewed by the Global Fund to present the role that key populations should play in the mechanisms for managing Global Fund grants. I thus clarified that “peer education is good, but coordination is better”, by calling on communities to be strategically positioned. Indeed, key populations as direct beneficiaries of grants from the Global Fund should no longer only assume the functions of peer educators, but also aspire to coordination because no one better than these populations can understand their problems. This is illustrated by my organization, Affirmative Action, which is the only West and Central African Identity Organization (WCA) that has been able to rise to the rank of sub-beneficiary of grants from the Global Fund.

During this conference, I also organized a mini session in my organization’s stand (box). It focused on the positioning of community actors in coordinating’s mechanisms of grants from the Global Fund and PEPFAR. The panelists at this meeting were Franz MANANGA from Alternatives Cameroun, and Cheik Junior from Arcad SIDA Mali.

In September 2019, I was part of the conference-debate « La santé pour tous, un défi mondial » organized by Le Monde diplomatique and the Global Fund. It took place on Tuesday September 10, 2020, in the auditorium of the newspaper Le Monde in Paris. The discussion was with Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; Stéphanie Seydoux, French ambassador for global health; François Dabis, director of the National Agency for Research on AIDS and Viral Hepatitis; and Florence Thune, Executive Director of SIDACTION. I presented the concrete impact of grants from the Global Fund for the Defense of LGBT Rights and Health in Cameroon, as well as the results that my organization has achieved thanks to the support of the Global Fund.

In October 2019, I was part of the civil society retreat on advocacy regarding the needs of children with tuberculosis. The plenary presentation I gave focused on “how to mobilize the resources of the Global Fund at a local, national, regional and international level?”

In May 2019, I was trainer of the capacity building workshop for actors from the Central and West Africa Platform (PACE) of Coalition Plus, on advocacy for the mobilization of domestic resources in connection with the Global Fund.

In April 2019, I had the opportunity to share with Nicolas Ritter, deputy chair of Coalition PLUS and Director of PILS, the impact of the Global Fund in programs to fight AIDS among MSM and DUs in Mauritius and Cameroon at the town hall of the 4th arrondissement of Paris as part of a conference organized by AIDES Paris with Inter-LGBT and Crips Ile-de-France.

What projects are you working on in 2020?

Affirmative Action, The Organisation which I am the Executive Director is currently implementing projects that participate in the care of MSM, Sex workers and Transgender women such as :

  • The Global Fund-NFMII Project (CMR-H-CMF No 1641) “Acceleration of prevention of new infections among key populations to reduce the rate of morbidity and mortality related to HIV by 2020” supported by the Global Fund through CAMNAFAW.
  • The “Keep in Touch” project which consists of the quarterly production of 250 copies of a booklet (STAY TUNED) capitalizing on results and good practices in the implementation of grants from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria among key populations in Cameroon. This project is funded by the Community Right Gender (CRG) of the Global Fund through MPACT.
  • In the preparation of the next Global Fund grant cycle, I am involved in the Country Dialogue with a view to the preparation and submission of the joint TB / HIV concept note 2021-2023.
  • I am linked to a partnership for the development of a project to implement TB interventions in a community level. We plan to submit this project to Channel 2 of the 5% initiative of Expertise France.
  • I coordinate the process of capitalizing on Affirmative Action experiences. This process aims to present to other identity organizations the path taken by the association to become a sub-beneficiary of the Global Fund.
  • I also work in a partnership with the organization Public Health Consortium Center (PHICC) for the advocacy on universal health coverage.

Are there any events you plan on attending this year?

I am a member of the organizing committee of the tenth (10th) international conference AFRAVIH 2020 (French-speaking Alliance of health actors against HIV and chronic viral infections) to be held in Dakar in Senegal in April 2020. At this Indeed, I will take part in this conference and will participate in some panels.

Is there anything in your personal life that you would like to share?

A friend and activist recently died from TB / HIV co-infection. His death is a great loss to the LGBT community for me, and affected me greatly. I realized that psychological well-being is a neglected aspect in the provision of services because this friend was deeply affected, and we were unable to provide him with the psychological support he needed to regain confidence. So I made a commitment to also advocate for access to mental health services.

Anything else you would like to add?

The care of key populations has seen remarkable progress with regard to HIV / AIDS. But there is an increasing urgency to think about integrating TB / HIV / Malaria services. During a mission to Geneva in October 2018, I was hospitalized in the emergency services of the Geneva University Hospital (HUG) because of cerebral malaria. Malaria remains the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa and advocacy must be amplified for prevention and care measures.

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