September 20, 2022
Burkina Faso – A Compounding and Complex Humanitarian Crisis
The situation in Burkina Faso is dire, complex, and in serious need of humanitarian aid from the global community. Since 2016, the country has entered an infernal spiral of violence. In this year, two military coups have taken place, further destabilizing the country and instigating violence. To add to the complexity of the situation, the military is in an armed conflict against jihadist militias that have been attacking in the north. In 2021, 1,315 security incidents targeting the civilian population and state institutions were recorded: attacks, kidnappings and massacres.
Conflict, famine, and mass-displacement are key issues to address when discussing the state of Burkina Faso. Since the conflict began 4 years ago, Burkina Faso remains one of the 3 fastest growing displacement crises in the world. 1 in 10 people in Burkina Faso have been forcibly displaced from their homes and the conflict has had a detrimental impact on the health sector, forcing 179 health centers to close, leaving more than 2 million people without access to health and nutritional care. Mass exodus and climate change have also resulted in thousands of crops being damaged and destroyed. In March 2022, it was estimated that 3.45 million will be severely food insecure and over 630,000 on the brink of famine. Along with food, access to clean water is also at risk, with 2.5 million struggling without it.
Sexual and Reproductive Health
Burkina Faso has a predominantly female population (51.7% of the population, National Institute of Statistics and Demography, 2020). However, due to the conflict and instability, their access to sexual and reproductive healthcare has been severely hindered. The rate of maternal mortality remains high (330 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2022).
In Burkina Faso, cancer of the cervix is the first cause of death due to cancer in women (22.2%) according to the WHO. Too often, it is diagnosed at an advanced stage, despite it being preventable in women. Most diagnosed with cancer in Burkina Faso lack access to screening, early diagnosis, treatment or palliative care. The insufficiency of the response is characterized by the absence of infrastructures and specific support equipment on a national scale. Although the government introduced the measure of free screening for precancerous lesions of the cervix as of 2016, the lack of human and financial resources hindered its impact.
Doctors of the World works with the Ministry of Health of Burkina Faso to fight against cervical cancer through screening and early treatment of precancerous lesions in women (aged 25 to 55) and implementation of advocacy activities with the authorities.
Our NGO trains health personnel in the Baskuy health district in Ouagadougou, equips health structures with screening materials for the virus (HPV) responsible for cervical cancer, and supports women. We assist women with advanced cancerous lesions in accessing appropriate treatment, even palliative care.
In 2021, DotW:
In 2021, advocacy activities enabled:
In 2020, DotW established a humanitarian emergency program in Kongoussi, to help address the shortage of care that area experienced.
Since the launch of the activities, our teams have been able to set up:
– The deployment of mobile clinics for a free primary health care offer, including the prevention and management of Gender-based Violence (GBV), mental health and psychosocial support, in areas with high concentrations of displaced persons;
– Strengthening the capacities of existing health structures, in particular for the management of vital emergencies, cases of GBV and psychological distress as well as the strengthening of emergency response capacities (displacements of populations, epidemics, etc.);
– The strengthening of individual and community empowerment in terms of access to health rights.
In 2021, Doctors of the World:
In the Baskuy health district in Ouagadougou, working with the Ministry of Health, health facilities and local organizations, DotW has established the “RESPECT for the health rights of adolescents and young people’ project in October 2021. This project promotes access to sexual and reproductive health care for adolescents and young people aged 10 to 24.
With the support of Doctors of the World, the various actors implement medical, community and advocacy activities aimed at improving access to care. They further ensure the dissemination of information on available health services and also focus on breaking down institutional and legal barriers that hinder adolescents and young people from fully enjoying their health-related rights.
Our intervention aims to achieve three objectives:
– The strengthening of health services, adapted to gender, inclusive and accountable
– Equitable use of sexual and reproductive health services, in particular by adolescents and young people
– Support for women’s/girls’ rights organizations and health authorities to promote policies and legal frameworks in the area of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR)