Family Care International (FCI) is working with UNFPA and local partners in hundreds of rural villages in the arid, rural Sahel region of northern Burkina Faso—a landlocked country in West Africa—to address the causes and effects of obstetric fistula in four of the country’s health districts.
FCI has been selected as a core strategic partner of Burkina’s Ministry of Health and is partnering with community leaders and grassroots organizations to raise awareness about the need for skilled care during childbirth, improve access to emergency obstetric services, and provide surgery for women living with obstetric fistula.
Over the past three years, the project has reached approximately 60,000 women and men with maternal health awareness-raising campaigns. The project also supported residents of nearly 700 rural villages, most of which lack basic health clinics, by:
Since the beginning of the initiative, FCI has worked to gain community leaders’ support for skilled care attendance at delivery and has established a network of four committees composed of community and religious leaders to strengthen the promotion of maternal and child health in the region.
“A part of our work in Burkina, we trained approximately 900 community outreach agents to encourage women to give birth in facilities with skilled staff,” explains Alain Kaboré, Program Officer with FCI-Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou, adding that, with UNFPA and local partners’ support it was also possible to teach staff of four grassroots organizations to identify obstetric fistula survivors and provide them with adequate psychological support.
As a result of the initiative, more than 300 women living with fistula in country have already received surgical treatment. The project has also helped fistula survivors reintegrate into society by training them in farming techniques and small business management skills and providing them with small grants so they can start small businesses in their own communities.
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Photo: L’oeil des Jeunes.