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MSF in Burkina Faso , 2009
Field Staff: 285
Reason for Intervention:
All articles on Burkina Faso »
Around 80 per cent of the 14.3 million people in Burkina Faso depend on subsistence farming, and it is often a struggle for farmers to produce sufficient food for their families. This can particularly affect children because if they do not get the nutrients and vitamins they need in the early phase of life, their mental and physical development can be impaired. They also become susceptible to infections and potentially fatal illnesses. Since 2007 MSF has been working in two provinces in the north of Burkina Faso where childhood malnutrition is frequently found.
In 2009, 16,000 malnourished children were treated in MSF centers in the two northern districts of Yako and Titao. Since the project began, 39,000 children have been helped. Using a decentralized and simplified system of testing and treatment, MSF teams are able to reach huge numbers of children. Those who are seriously ill are hospitalized free of charge by MSF teams in regional health facilities. However around 85 per cent of the children can be cared for at home by their parents because the ready-to-use food is simple to administer. MSF also admitted patients suffering from tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria.
In 2009, the worst measles outbreak in years erupted in Burkina Faso. In poor communities with little or no access to care, around ten per cent of people with the illness can die. MSF had earlier offered to help the Ministry of Health in vaccinating against the outbreak, but the offer was declined. MSF then went on to assist the Ministry of Health to treat people with measles in the capital Ouagadougou, as well as in four districts in the east of the country where MSF treated nearly 4,000 children in total.
In one day in September, the same amount of rain that usually falls in a year fell on the capital, Ouagadougou. The resulting floods destroyed 24,000 houses and made 150,000 people homeless. Five MSF teams provided healthcare to those displaced by the flooding, and provided medical supplies to the regional health authorities.
In 2009 MSF handed over a long-running HIV/AIDS program to the Ministry of Health. The program was based in the capital and had been providing around 4,480 people with antiretroviral therapy.
Fati Zore, a 35-year-old mother of four
Fati left her home in the capital Ouagadougou to come to the town of Titao in the north of Burkina Faso because her mother had fallen ill. However, she found it hard to feed her children and her youngest, a four-year-old girl, became malnourished. ‘I came to the center because my daughter’s weight was too low,’ said Fati. Health workers had spread the message in the area that parents could bring their children for treatment free of charge. ‘My aunt heard about it and told me to come. All the women around here know that the treatment here is good. I have been coming for three weeks and now my daughter is better.’
MSF has worked in Burkino Faso since 1995.