MSF in Burkina Faso: Providing healthcare in a region ravaged by violence

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As of March 2021, and according to the Council for Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation (CONASUR), Burkina Faso’s North region counts 100,254 internally displaced people who have fled the violence in the northern parts of the country.

The big numbers of displaced people have drained an already-fragile healthcare system in some of the country’s remote areas, such as Titao, a town in the North region, close to the border with Sahel and home to 34,359 displaced people. To many living in the town or in other neighbouring villages, access to healthcare is almost impossible; the nearest fully functioning health facility is about 20 km away.

Our Doctors Without Borders (MSF) teams are supporting five health facilities in the region in order to gain back their working capacities. The mobile clinics aim at bringing healthcare to the displaced people and host communities in these villages as healthcare services became scarce due to the violence in the last years between the armed groups and the army as well as in intercommunal clashes.

“We have nothing left, since we fled the conflict. We don’t even have money to pay for treatment,” says Zallé Ramata, a displaced woman living in the village of Sirfou.

Out of 23 health centres in the district of Titao, 15 are not operational at full capacity and another three have shut down due to the conflict. This adds to the difficulty in movement due to long distances, the insecurity and the lack of means of transportation, making access to basic health services in Titao’s district almost impossible.

“These villages are located several kilometres from the nearest health centre. In Sirfou for example, where we are today, the nearest health centre is seven kilometres away. The majority of the displaced persons have neither the means of transportation nor the money to get there,” says Monique Diarra, an MSF nurse. “Our main objective is to provide healthcare services to both displaced people and host communities that have no access to them and already suffered a lot because of the widespread violence.”

Every week, our team of five travels several dozen kilometres to reach these villages, often on very poor roads. The journey is relatively easier in the dry season, but becomes longer and more difficult when the rain start falling. The region’s chronic insecurity adds to the difficulties in the movements; it took months for the conditions to allow our teams to leave the town of Titao and reach these villages in the outskirts.

Today, we share with you an article detailing how we are responding to the medical needs for the people in Burkina Faso.

Released by MSF

 


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