Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world. More than 70 % can neither read nor write and the average income for more than 80% of the people is 1 Euro per day. Access to basic healthcare is difficult for most people for obvious reasons and children and adults still die of very treatable diseases. Our own research show that only 30 percent of the children attending the primary school are actually in good health. The other have several medical issues going from simple earplugs, over chronic parasite infection to bad cases of malaria.
Paam Laafi Association (Paam Laafi is Mooré and means “to get good health”, health in a holistic way) attacks this problem with a three pronged approach, a synergy between medical services, solidarity-based financing and communication services. Practically, Paam Laafi uses mobile clinics and the creation of a health campus including a 120 bed hospital.
Paam Laafi searches to build a large network with experts in several fields as to be able to address the maximum number of issues patients might show up with.
The mobile clinics
Since October 2009 Paam Laafi has been doing medical school visits at the local primary schools. So far the Paam Laafi Association Mobile Team, in collaboration with Go to Nations Burkina, the International School of Ouagadougou and recently Christian Children’s Fund Canada have been able to visit almost 12.000 primary school children. Many children need some level of medical attention. We found that there is about 1 disease for every child. Only 30-35% seem to be in good health. Many are have malaria and sit in class with more than 38.5° fever. Many have respiratory tract infections and suffer from diarrhoeic and/or parisitic illness. We have a nurse on our team cleaning ears fulltime because 20% of the children have earwax plugs in their ears and are not able to hear clearly what their teacher is telling them.
These mobile clinics have been a great opportunity for local doctors to get involved with the benevolent work of Paam Laafi Association. Over the last three years a core group of doctors has been formed with each of them a willingness to help build the Paam Laafi ‘Health for All’ program. It has also been a blessing for them to gain a lot of medical expertise. (link to the presentation of the Paam Laafi doctors and other team members)
The Paam Laafi Health for All Campus and Hospital
In Burkina Faso, we count one medical doctor for 100.000 inhabitants. Many of these doctors live and work in the main cities and are studying abroad to specialize. This means that there are hundreds of thousands of people in this country who never get to see a medical doctor. Paam Laafi has two answers to this problem :
- Bring good quality health care to the people through mobile clinics
- Construct a Health for All Campus/Hospital which will be accessible to all, including the poorest. Newsflash about the hospital building.