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Over the years, we have accumulated experience and built a network of competent and reliable partners in the areas of our activities. Those, in turn, are naturally in relation to our own professional backgrounds and experiences. LAAFI therefore limits its project activities to a few, well-defined sectors, in order to achieve maximum sustainable impact with the available resources.
Traditional African wells are simple holes in the ground. There is usually no protective wall and in most cases no cover. Wells thereby are dangerous traps for man and beast and prone to pollution by surface water during the rainy season - one of the main reasons for many infectious diseases. LAAFI encourages the raising of walls around wells above ground level.
Water for sanitary institutions is particularly sensitive - in these cases we encourage the building of closed water pumps.
Inoculations against infectious diseases such as tetanus, whopping cough, meningitis, polio-myelitis or yellow fever are provided in sufficient quantities by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Vaccines however need constant cooling - but refrigerators are limited to medical centres. The cooling chain therefore is often ruptured only a few kilometres after larger agglomerations and vaccines do not reach the rural population. We seek to equip bush hospitals with autonomous refrigerators, powered by gas or solar energy.
Primary Healthcare Post
Ailments of the industrial world such as diabetes, high blood pressure or obesity play a minor role in Burkina Faso. Instead, malaria, untreated wounds often leading to amputations of limbs, diarrhoea, which may dangerously weaken patients and thereby lead to opportunistic infections such as malaria and tuberculosis, are the major problems. Although the main drugs are inexpensive, they often are still beyond the means of most patients.
We seek to guarantee the most basic treatment for everyone and support primary healthcare posts with essential drugs, bandages etc. The monies generated from the sale of these goods - usually between 50-70% - are put onto an account. The accumulated resources are then at the discretion of the community to improve the village's infrastructure.
Bush hospitals (Dispensaires) treat more complicated cases, conduct inoculation campaigns and are important centres for sensitisation programmes in public health and hygiene. The maternity wards or Maternités, attached to the CSPS play an important part in this. In contrast to the health posts which operate with volunteers, CSPS are staffed with publicly paid community health workers and midwives. Bush hospitals often represent the most advanced level of medical care in rural areas. LAAFI seeks to improve existing structures and supports their supply with medical equipment and fixtures as well as simple measures to expand their reach:
Microscopes to diagnose malaria and other parasitic infections
Refrigerators to stock vaccines
Solar-energy systems to supply electricity
Education and Sensitisation
HIV / sexually transmitted diseases
Various studies estimate HIV-prevalence in Burkina Faso at currently between 5 - 30%. Sensitisation programmes however are often limited to the urban centres - topical slide shows are therefore in strong demand in rural areas. LAAFI provides projectors and slide shows.
In addition, in co-operation with AMPO, an orphanage in Ouagadougou, LAAFI has initiated a project which takes educational messages to remote villages. By using puppet theatre, the whole population can be addressed.
Women show a keen interest in the topic, but western contraceptive methods are well beyond the financial means of most. According to a study by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) , only 12% of women in Burkina Faso use any sort of family planning method. Dr Hengstberger, a Viennese gynaecologist and her association Aktion Regen, have developed a necklace, allowing women to follow their cycle and to separate fertile from infertile days. LAAFI adapted this model for Burkina Faso and enables the staff in CSPS' to offer it to interested women.
In a country where cinema and television are not commonplace, pictures have a particular influence and are well remembered. The Cinéma Mobile - cinema on wheels, an initiative of the Pan-African Film Festival FESPACO - visits remote villages and shows motion pictures about health and hygiene, HIV-prevention or the contested custom of female genital mutilation.
The tradition of the mobile cinema dates back to the 1960s and is now a joint-venture between FESPACO and the national film archive. The potential of such educational films is enormous as they tend to reach very large audiences. However, the trips from the capital Ouagadougou to rural areas have to be financed by an NGO or a village association. Having witnessed the success of a visit of the Cinéma Mobile to Sané, LAAFI now encourages and finances further visits to the project villages and neighbouring regions.