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MSF in Burkina Faso, 2007
Reason for Intervention:
Field Staff: 248
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In Burkina Faso high levels of infant malnutrition remains problematic in terms of detection and treatment. A more decentralized program has now been developed to address this. MSF also tackled meningitis through a large scale inoculation program, and continued to treat HIV/AIDS patients. Treatment was also provided to street girls and teenagers, vulnerable to disease and abuse.
Malnutrition is endemic, especially among children under five years old.
The vast majority of Burkina Faso’s population depends heavily on successful harvests for survival. In the semi-arid Sahel region, bordering Mali, one of the most densely populated areas, a poor harvest can quickly lead to extreme food shortages. As a result malnutrition is endemic, especially among children under five years old.
In September 2007, MSF launched a project to decentralised the treatment of malnutrition in the Yako and Titao districts by treating children close to their homes using mobile and local health clinics. Only acutely malnourished children suffering from complications are hospitalised, while all other children are screened and cared for through outpatient consultations in the local health clinics. By the end of December, 7,000 children under five years had been enrolled in the nutrition programme.
Rapid response to meningitis
In mid-February, a meningitis epidemic broke out affecting over 25,000 people of which over 1,700 died. MSF rapidly intervened to support health authorities and treat meningitis patients. By the end of the emergency, MSF had treated 1,500 people in the capital, Ouagadougou.
In March, MSF ran a meningitis vaccination campaign in the Pissy health district, the most densely populated district of the capital. Approximately 470,000 people were targeted for inoculations. The following month, MSF vaccinated the population of four rural districts: Manga, Po, Zabre in the south and Gorom-Gorom in the north. In total, MSF vaccinated about 955,000 people.
Decentralising HIV/AIDS care
MSF continued to run an HIV/AIDS project in Pissy, now concentrating on improving patients’ adherence to treatment through the decentralisation of care. This is done by bringing care closer to the patient through local health centres and increased community support which improves the autonomy of patients living with HIV/AIDS. More than 23,000 medical consultations were conducted. Since 2004, MSF has provided anti-retroviral treatment (ART) to people with HIV/AIDS, with over 4,000 patients receiving treatment so far.
Street girls in Ouagadougou
In Ouagadougou, MSF manages a project for street girls and teenagers aged nine to 20 years. Initially, the team was only referring and accompanying the girls to public health facilities but since the beginning of the year it has been more directly involved in providing medical services. Activities include providing treatment for sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS, reproductive and obstetrical care, antenatal care and support for victims of sexual violence and improving their legal protection. Some 1,200 consultations and 29 deliveries were carried out. MSF also continues to reduce stigma by raising awareness with the authorities and civil society about the violence inflicted on these girls. In 2008, MSF will hand over this project to a local partner called Keogoo.
MSF has worked in Burkina Faso since 1995.