Filling the gap in health care provision
Committed to increasing children’s access to quality care and treatment, we supported AMREF’s work in hard-to-reach areas of the Tambacounda, Sédhiou and Kolda districts of Senegal, and the Boké, Labé and Mamou prefectures of Guinea Conakry. The programme provided free access to diagnostic, medical and surgical services for nearly 11,000 children focusing in particular on the main causes of child death (respiratory infections, diarrhoea, anaemia and malaria). Using mobile surgical camps, AMREF was able to perform routine paediatric surgical procedures for the treatment of hernias, cataracts, trachoma, burns and cleft lips on 326 children, while over 100,000 received seasonal malaria prevention treatment.
Following an integrated approach that harnessed the energies in communities and strengthened the links between them and the National Health System, the programme has achieved solid progress in a number of key activities:
- Over 10,800 children were screened and treated for a wide range of health problems during 31 medical consultations in state elementary schools by multidisciplinary teams, including a doctor, ophthalmologist, dentist and nurse.
- 680 of the children screened during these medical consultations were referred to health centres or regional hospitals for free medical treatment.
- 326 children were operated on by dedicated surgeons from Dakar and Conakry through eight mobile surgical camps organised in regional hospitals.
- 105,000 children received seasonal malaria prevention treatments.
- Over 300 community health workers, local caregivers and midwives were trained in child health and the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness, a proven successful approach to combating a range of childhood illnesses.
- 102,270 women received information on maternal, child and reproductive health.
AMREF’s approach not only boosts local capacity by training medical personnel in pre- and post-surgery care, but successfully strengthens community awareness by equipping people and mothers in particular with simple skills to better care for their children and manage childhood diseases.
We are expanding our support to AMREF in Senegal with an additional three-year grant to maintain momentum, standardise the programme model and consolidate the positive results achieved. The new programme will be implemented in 60 schools and their communities in the Kolda and Sédhiou districts. It will roll out 160 medical consultations and nine mobile surgical camps, and deliver trainings on maternal, child and reproductive health for more than 25,000 pregnant women and women of reproductive age.
The needs are huge, she explains. In Senegal, there is fewer than 1 doctor for every 10,000 people. This severe lack of health care workers means that basic primary care and surgery are inaccessible to many, especially those living in communities far from paved roads, reliable electricity, and health facilities.
AMREF programme tries to bridge this gap, making it possible for surgical teams to go on outreach missions, give consultations, perform operations and train local health workers in pre- and post-operative care as well as minor surgical procedures.
See also: A surgeon for disadvantaged children