Why are we there?
- Endemic/epidemic disease
- Natural disaster
In the wake of violent clashes between Mali's army, Tuareg rebels, and other groups active in northern Mali, nearly 46,000 Malians have fled their country and taken refuge in northern Burkina Faso since mid-January.
Most of the refugees are gathered in Oudalan, Seno and Soum Provinces, though the largest number - 35,000 - are in Oudalan, a desert region in the northern part of the country.
After making food and water distributions in Mentao, in Soum Province, the first camp to be formalised in early February, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) started working in Oudalan Province in early March.
Mobile clinics established
The MSF teams are providing support to the Gandafaou health post and running mobile clinics to the Ferrerio camp as well. The staff has held more than 1,600 medical visits in four weeks, treating respiratory infections, skin infections, and gastric illnesses, all of which which are symptomatic of a lack of access to water, sanitation, and shelter.
MSF provides free care to the refugees and to the local populations in these areas. Unrelated to the Malian refugee situation, MSF has worked for several years in Titao and in January 2012, MSF expanded its work in the area from treatment of malnutrition to the broader provision of paediatric care services.
The MSF teams are now working in 11 health areas (in health centres and community-level clinics) to screen and treat children for malnutrition, and in paediatric and therapeutic feeding wards of Titao’s hospital. The program had admitted 633 malnourished children and treated another 222 in the pediatric ward of the hospital by the end of March.
A hostile climate and fluctuating prices both limit the availability of food for many people in Burkina Faso. MSF works in the north of the country, operating free nutrition programmes for children under five.
Teams in Loroum province treat children for malnutrition and also provide basic healthcare at 11 outpatient programmes and one inpatient centre at the hospital in the provincial capital Titao.
United Nations Children's Fund
Activities in five health centres in Yako were gradually handed over to the United Nations Children’s Fund as it became more involved in child health in the town.
MSF cared for children with a range of conditions, the most common being diarrhoea, malaria and respiratory infections. Patients were also offered routine vaccinations.
Malaria is the main cause of sickness and death in Burkina Faso, especially among under-fives, and between July and December, the number of cases spikes.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, MSF treated malaria patients in Titao hospital year-round, and extended treatment activities to outlying health centres during the malaria season. Staff tended to some 820 patients.
In total, almost 4,500 children received treatment in 2011. Since 2007, when the programme began, staff have tended to more than 55,400 children.
MSF has begun exploring possibilities for new programmes in the country: the malaria epidemic in the south of the country, increasing political unrest, growing insecurity close to the border due to fighting in neighbouring Mali and fears of a particularly acute malnutrition crisis were all cause for concern as 2012 began.
At the end of 2011, MSF had 215 staff in Burkina Faso. MSF has worked in the country since 1995.