Burkina Faso

An introduction to the work in Burkina Faso

AMURT IN DEOU

AMURT was first assigned to Deou by the Burkina Faso Department of Health in 1986. The desert communities have no roads, electricity or telephone communications, no commercial economy and scarce access to safe water, and 90 % illiteracy in the outlying areas. Since 1986 AMURT has engaged in a variety of development works in Deou, including hospital construction, wells, cooperatives, cereal banks, and reforestation. Since 2001 our focus has been exclusively in health education.

In remote communities of the Moussi and Peuhl tribes, as many as 60 % the girls have their genitals cut at the age of 12-14. This Peuhl girl is from the Ndiawe village, a nomad community.

AMURT is working in partnership with the Department of Health to train women as village midwives. (AV for Accoucheuse Villageoise in French). The program was initiated in January 2002 and now serves more than 30 communities throughout Deou Department. The village midwives are trained and supervised by AMURT and staff from the Health Department Staff at the medical centers at Deou, Gandafabou and Boulekessi.

All the AV´s come for repetition and further training courses twice a year. The October 2006 session lasted ten days

 

BACKGROUND

According to the UN, 530,000 women die in childbirth every year, more than half of these in Sub-Saharan Africa, in remote villages. In the Deou project area, two tribes, the Peuhl (Fulani) and the Bella have no strong tradition of assisted childbirth. Rather it’s said that if a woman is a strong woman, she should be able to give birth alone. When the women try to assist each other during delivery, their approach has been a passive one, as they are unprepared without training and supplies to secure the hygienic conditions. The nearest delivery room with trained personnel has been up to fifty kilometers away, in an area with no roads and no vehicles. The mothers have been unprepared to face the complications that may arise. The area has seen one of the highest maternal mortality figures in Africa.

Our trainer Madame Oubda takes time to answer questions personally after her class on breastfeeding
 

Fanta from Boulekessi Soum was trained in 2005 and has established herself well in her community

VILLAGE MIDWIVES

The AVs are earning the respect of their communities. They are assuming a position of leadership that has been unavailable to women due to the traditional separation of the sexes. The AV’s effectively fulfill the role of the health promoter for mothers and babies. Their training has also brought them to the frontline to raise awareness in this conservative society about concerns crucial to the welfare of women. For example, they are advising women in their communities about family planning and the threat of HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS is brought to the area by men who travel to find work in the dry season.

The Peuhl AV at Ndiawe village gets help from visiting UK midwife Suniiti Crowther to understand how to better use the instruments in her midwife kit

The AV’s are now using their position to combat FGM, female genital mutilation. FGM is officially banned in Burkina Faso. However in the remote villages, as many as 60 % nearly all of the Moussi and Peuhl girls still have their genitals cut around the age of 12 to 14. The AV´s are also taught about the common difficulties encountered in breastfeeding and how to assist the mothers to overcome them. Right breastfeeding is crucial to combat child malnutrition.

The AV from Bungelday gets read to practice oral resuscitation. The use of teaching aids (visuals and dolls to demonstrate/practice on) are particularly important when teaching the illiterate, who find it difficult to follow theoretical classes

COMPONENTS OF THE PROGRAM

  • Basic training for village midwives, equipment and supplies.
  • Additional training for village midwives
  • Literacy training for village midwives
  • Food assistance for village midwives:­ one 100 kg sack of millet annually at the time of grain shortages.
  • Follow-up and supervision for village midwives ­ monthly. Monitoring of instruments and refill of supplies. Collection of data.
  • S.M.I. Mobile ­ Sante Maternel Infantil: weighing and check-ups of infants and pregnant and nursing mothers, health education for women in the villages, including audio/video.
  • Mobile out-reach to the communities by health department team.
  • Ambulance: ­ AMURT donated a vehicle for ambulance for Deou Medical Center, and assists with the vehicle maintenance and driver support.
  • Training and supervision of village health promoters (male) Agents de Sante Villageoise (A.S.V.)
Before the program started, virtually no women of the Bella tribe would come for pre-natal consultation or deliveries at the medical centers. With the efforts of the AV´s (village midwives) these attitudes have started to change, and the Bella tribe no longer remain aloof from the health infrastructure of the country.

FUNDING PARTNERS

NORAD/FOKUS-KVINNER ­ Norway
AMURTEL USA
AMURT UK
AMURT Italy
AMURT Norway
AM Foundation, Taiwan
Emanuele Antola Foundation

You can help !

AMURT relies on donations from individuals and sponsoring agencies and associations. We have two full time local coordinators, one stationed in Deou, and one alternating between Deou and the capital Ouagadougou. We are currently seeking groups or individuals to sponsor the training and equipping of more village midwives and village health agents for the villages around Deou.

To contribute you can:
1. Donate Online
2. Donations can also be sent via bank transfer to:
Account name: AMURT
Account number 012421107180850173
Banque Internationale de Burkina Faso
Boite Postale 362
Ouagadougou
Burkina Faso

Participatory Video of the Fulani people

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