Burkina Faso: Medical Missions and Workforce Training
Population: 19.19 million
Over the course of the past decade, Burkina Faso has made strides in updating the national health policy and development plans and upgrading health facilities so that they are regulation compliant. Strategic health priorities include those to reduce maternal, neonatal, and infant and child mortality. A key development focus will be implementing an accelerated strategy for child survival and development and the integrated management of childhood illnesses.
- There are an estimated 0.06 physicians per 1,000 population and 0.57 nurses and midwives per 1,000 population.
- Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live birth): 49
- Under-5 mortality rate (per 1,000 live births): 76.4
*Estimates Developed by the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UNICEF, WHO, World Bank, UN DESA Population Division)
In Burkina Faso, facial tumors and noma, a rapidly progressing skin disease affecting the face, are poorly understood by both the public and community health workers. These diseases and disabilities often leave patients unable to feed themselves and with difficulties to hear, breath and speak. Access to treatment is unavailable, further compounded by superstitions which leave suffers ostracized from their communities. To gain control of the situation, USFC launched a facial reconstruction program in 2014 combining direct surgical care and training courses during two surgical missions per year. From this experience, a more targeted program was launched in 2018 to build awareness among the public, provide medical and surgical care to patients, and train local teams in three targeted regions in Burkina Faso.
- USFC organized 130 reconstructive surgery training missions
- USFC consulted 310 patients
- USFC provided reconstructive surgery for 153 patients in Burkina Faso
In the first year of operation, USFC rolled out 130 awareness and training session in the Boucle du Mouhoun region. Sessions included education on the detection of skin diseases and other facial abnormalities as well as referrals and treatments for advanced cases. In tandem, community outreach through radio shows, street interviews and journalism, built awareness among the general public.
Through two surgical missions, 310 patients received consultations and 153 received surgical treatment. The main conditions treated included cleft lip, cleft palate, maxilla and mandibular tumors, noma and severe burns. Surgeries were carried out alongside local medical teams who received additional training in maxilla-facial surgery.
In 2019, these programs were replicated in the North Central region.