Thursday, August 27, 2015

Phylantrophy and US Navy: Delphine O. On Executive Director of African Aid Organization, Inc. (AFAID).

Mrs. On addressing participants at an HIV/AIDS outreach, Africa
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Petty Officer 2nd Class Delphine On, a trooper with Joint Task Force Joint Medical Group, sits by the Morale, Wellness & Recreation Library awaiting her next task for the day, volunteering at the Thrift Store. On’s story is incredibly unique, one that includes a life born in Cameroon, a childhood in Europe, and an adult life in the U.S. Add the establishment of a non-governmental organization and service in the U.S. Navy and you begin to uncover pieces of the journey she has taken.

She earned a law degree from the University de Nanterre Paris X and later, earned a law degree from American University in Washington, D.C. In 2002, she put her knowledge into practice. She opened the nonprofit African Aid Organization, Inc. with her husband.
"I’ve always wanted to work in international law," said On. "Even though I wasn’t raised in Cameroon, I still see myself in those girls. You see so many of them getting married at a young age or contracting AIDS through sexual [coercion]. I wanted to do more."

African Aid Organization, Inc. is referenced as AFAID, and is a non-profit organization devoted to providing first-class assistance, support, and education to the most vulnerable children in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the organization’s website. They assist in HIV testing and prevention, education and poverty reduction. "We work in small villages in Cameroon, Mali, Burkina Faso and are looking to expand into Uganda," said On. "In the past 14 years, we have assisted 3,000 people ages 10 to 24. I care so much about this cause. I’ve put in my own money to fund our organization when donations were low."

AFAID has earned accreditation from the United Nations, which has afforded it opportunities to continue its work into the small villages they seek to serve. On wishes she could do more. It is a vicious cycle when little girls cannot afford to eat and they are forced into prostitution or into marriages with older men, simply for the opportunity to provide for their family, she explained.

On also serves as a member of the U.S. Navy Reserves. "I want to be an officer," she said. "Originally, I couldn’t be an officer because I wasn’t a U.S. citizen. I enlisted myself in the Navy with the intent on one day making the transition into be an officer. It’s been a long journey, but I just put in my packet for consideration to the board." On joined the Navy Reserves in 2008 and enlisted as a corpsman. "I didn’t even know what a corpsman was when I joined," she said. "Being in the medical field has still allowed me to help people. I help people at the JTC (Joint Troop Clinic), screening, assisting those who come into the clinic. I’ve always wanted to challenge myself and embrace the country that opened opportunities for me."

Sailors who have grown with her along her military career and can attest to her character.
"I have known [Petty Officer 2nd Class] since April 2015, when we met at Navy Mobilization Processing Site, Norfolk," said Petty Officer 1st Class Richard Schreck, patient’s relations representative at the JTC. "[At the time], she was an enthusiastic [Petty Officer 3rd Class] at the time looking a bit new to the deployment phase of the Navy. I was able to speak with her and found out she finished her masters in law and was studying for her bar exam. My time with [On], I have had the privilege and honor to see her blossom into a well-rounded Sailor and put on [Petty Officer 2nd Class] over the last five months." Her role at JTF GTMO has been to treat Troopers at the JTC seeking medical attention. While she initially struggled to master her new job, she has become one of the best. "[She] took charge with no hesitation and is one of the top screeners for the clinic now," said Schreck. "Her motivation and dedication to the clinic and the well-being of all service members has been explicable."

PO2 Delphine On
Delphine On in a meeting with local NGOs Executives, Cameroon
On’s story at JTF GTMO is unique and incredible. While her journey is not complete, she has set the stage for her success in the future. Those interested in learning more about her nonprofit organization can visit

Monday, October 8, 2012

Rapid HIV Oral Test available for sale Over the Counter

AFAID's Club Against AIDS in Mbalmayo, Cameroon

People will now be able to find out whether they are HIV positive or not, right in the comfort of their houses; currently, there is a home testing kit also known as The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test available in the over-the-counter market. Consumers can purchase it for about $40. 

This FDA-approved rapid diagnostic test can detect the presence of antibodies to both HIV-1 and HIV-2 in fluid collected from the user’s gums and cheeks. The availability of this testing kit through retailers and other online stores will impact the consumer in a positive and negative way. Obviously, it may damagingly influence some people who are tested negative by providing them with a premature sense of confidence that could lead to activities that put them at risk for HIV and other STDs infections. But as the FDA stressed, as stated by HealthPop report, the benefits of using this oral test device overshadow the negatives. 

First of all the detection is crucial for prevention in a way that it helps slow the spread of the disease. In August, the journal of AIDS and Behavior has published a study, involving 27 gay men who frequently had sex with strangers without using condoms, which found that tis rapid self-testing undoubtedly prevented some infections.

Second, because it is pain-free, does not need needles and blood, and can be performed in the confidentiality of non-traditional testing environments, this test will attract more people to get screened and help patients who are tested positive to be connected to care as soon as possible. 

Many people are, in fact, not aware of their HIV status and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that these unaware people cause a little more than two third of new infections each year and that 75 percent of the ones tested positive will change risky behaviors once they are aware of their status. 

Furthermore, people will use this OraQuick In-Home HIV Test to screen their potential sexual partners, making this test more popular and leading HIV trends to the bottom. Some studies suggest that a considerable number of HIV-positive people keep their status secret most of the time; this allows them to continually infect unsuspected partners. About 2800 men and women from OraSure Technologies’ clinical trials also said they would use the test as HIV screening tool.   

To perform this test, the user gently swipes the test swab on his or her cheeks and gums to collect an oral fluid called oral mucosal transudate, as this test does not use saliva.  After that, (s) he inserts the swab into the tube that comes with the testing kit and wait for the result in less than 40 minutes.  

This oral test works just like HIV Blood tests because the fluid collected is similar to the one use in blood testing. The test is done to detect HIV’s antibodies, not for the virus itself. The test is expected to have some weaknesses. In its approval announcement, the 17-member FDA panel stressed that the test is not as precise as a lab-administered one. It is practically 100 percent accurate when it shows that an individual does not have the virus that causes AIDS. 

When it comes to the one who does, its accuracy is only about 93 percent. According to HealthPop, Rita Chappelle, a FDA spokesperson also highlighted the necessity of following step by step instructions for accurate result when testing at home. Chappelle also drew attention to the importance of following up with a medical setting confirmation despite the test high accuracy rate. For, some people can take up to six months to develop the level of antibodies associated with HIV that the test can detect; event though the majority of affected people reach that threshold within three months.  

So being tested positive does not, in definitive, mean that person is infected with HIV, but rather that additional testing should be done in health care settings. A negative result when exposure has being within the previous three months also requires professional medical attention. Anyway, regular retesting is recommended for people who often engage in at-risk behavior.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Maternal mortality

A recent join United Nations report indicated that the new maternal mortality is declining. Obviously, global data suggests that progress has been made to reduce the number of pregnant women who die while giving birth around the world; however, in sub-Saharan Africa, the hardest hit region in the world, maternity deaths remain a huge concern. As a matter of fact, people in sub-Saharan countries of Africa have witnessed more than 280,000 of those deaths in 2010 only. According to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), that number represents 57 percent of the world maternal deaths. These high figures suggest that 17 percent of all women in Africa are at risk of dying from complication of pregnancy and childbirth. 

Cameroon, Chad, and Congo are among several sub-Saharan countries in which maternal and infant mortality rate is still lamentably high. For instance, Yearly mothers’ deaths in Cameroon rose from 7500 in 2004 to 9000 in 2010, according to figures released by the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS).

The situation seems to be worse than the UN data shows as persistent under-reporting and misclassification have made it impossible to know the true extent of such deaths, especially in remotest and poorest areas. African Aid Organization, Inc. (AFAID) is deeply troubled by the senseless deaths of mothers in Africa because most of these deaths could have been prevented. Indeed, the high number of maternal deaths in Africa is the direct result of insufficient care during pregnancy and delivery, the lack of money to pay the fees being asked for by medical personnel, and incapacity to reach health facilities because of geographical, financial or cultural barriers. Most importantly, HIV infections claim 10 percent of those lives. Evidences show that of the 91% of world maternal deaths due to HIV/AIDS occur in sub-Saharan Africa because, among other causes, women lack information on sexual and reproductive health and rights. 

An urgent action is needed as more than 1 million children in Africa alone are orphaned because the mother dies trying to procreate.  Please get involved, click here to donate.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

2012 Mother’s day in Africa

On the second Sunday of May in the US and the last Sunday of May in Europe, the world observes Mother’s day by celebrating the crucial role that mothers play in the society as a whole. This holiday has its roots in the US in 1914. In fact, President Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s day official when he signed it into law during the First World War. The desire to repopulate Europe urged European countries to adopt the Mother’s day holiday.   

African Aid Organization, Inc. (AFAID) uses this day to remember all mothers and pregnant women who live with HIV as well as those affected by AIDS.  This Mother’s day, Sunday May 13, 2012, AFAID invites you to join the organization in the celebration of this day by donating in honor of those most vulnerable mothers who have shown unconditional love to their children throughout their lives. A donation of $20 or more can stop the transmission of HIV from mother to child, feed an AIDS orphan for a month, and help keep mothers alive to care for their children.  You can make your donation online at,,, or by mail at AFAID, 1325 G St. NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

AFAID HIV/AIDS Awareness Club parades in Mbalmayo, Cameroon

On February 11, 2012 Cameroonian youth celebrated the 46th National Youth Day in Cameroon. In the city of Mbalmayo, African Aid Organization, Inc. (AFAID) participated in the parade through its AFAID HIV/AIDS Awareness Club created and implemented in Mbalmayo Technical High School located in the city of Mbalmayo, Cameroon. Following the celebration, members of the club distributed HIV/AIDS awareness documents.