Burkina Faso: “When I gave birth to my daughter, there was no problem. She was in great shape and everyone envied her”.
Kadi, a mother of three, lives in Fada, Burkina Faso, with her two boys and a daughter. Arcela, who will be 18 months old in January 2023, suffers from severe acute malnutrition with complications. At the time of the interview, she had been in hospital for a month at the Centre for Nutritional Recovery and Education (CREN) at the Fada Regional Hospital (CHR).
Interview with Kadi, a mother whose child is hospitalised at the NREC of the Fada Regional Hospital, supported by Première Urgence Internationale.
Free treatment for malnutrition in Burkina Faso
As part of a project funded by the European Union, Première Urgence Internationale works in the nutrition sector, as here at the Nutritional Recovery and Education Centre (NREC) at the Fada Regional Hospital (RHC), in the eastern region of Burkina Faso. The NGO carries out activities to support the management of severe acute malnutrition with and without complications. It provides psycho-stimulation for children suffering from malnutrition, as well as raising awareness about malnutrition, coupled with cooking demonstrations.
It was in this context that Première Urgence Internationale staff were able to talk to mothers whose children are hospitalised there for severe acute malnutrition with complications.
“When I gave birth to my daughter, she was in great shape and everyone envied her. When she was 3 months old, she started refusing the breast and artificial milk. The child suddenly fell ill, she started having diarrhoea and a temperature”, says Kadi.
Kadi was alerted by the signs of weight loss, the lines around the child’s eyes, which seemed to be sunken in, and the lack of vigour in her baby, who could no longer eat. The child’s health deteriorated very quickly.
After a consultation at the Health and Social Promotion Centre (HSPC) in Fada 2, the nurses informed Kadi that her daughter was suffering from malnutrition with medical complications. The nurses immediately referred her to the Nutritional Recovery and Education Centre (NREC) in Fada for better treatment. Without this care, the child was in danger of dying.
Thanks to the intervention of Première Urgence Internationale in the area, Arcela was able to benefit from free care: accommodation, treatment and medication.
Our actions to combat malnutrition in Burkina Faso
The fight against acute malnutrition in Burkina Faso does not stop there. In order to prevent recurrences and raise awareness among mothers, Première Urgence Internationale has set up sessions to promote good food and nutritional practices for infant and young child feeding, coupled with cooking demonstrations, as well as sessions to raise awareness of good hygiene practices. As part of these activities, Kadi also received a hygiene kit consisting of a water container, a bucket, soap, a kettle, a pot and water purification tablets.
Kadi, a mother whose child is hospitalised at the NREC of the RHC in Fada, has received a WASH kit from Première Urgence Internationale.
This is also the case for Laurentine, who lives in the village of Namoungou, 28 km east of Fada. This mother of twins went to the Nutritional Recovery and Education Centre at the Fada Regional Hospital supported by the project. Her children, Ulrich and Steve, were suffering from severe acute malnutrition with medical complications.
Suffering from diarrhoea, oedema of the feet and face, and refusing breast milk and porridge, the twins were identified as suffering from severe acute malnutrition during a consultation at the Namoungou Health and Social Promotion Centre (CSPS); they were then referred by a midwife to the Fada Nutritional Recovery and Education Centre.
For Laurentine, as for all those accompanying a child to the NREC, Première Urgence Internationale covered the expenses associated with the hospitalisation, such as travel costs and the cost of meals for the accompanying person.
An episode of malnutrition with complications in a child often involves a long stay in the department for the child and the person accompanying him or her. This stay is often difficult for the parents (cost, inability to work, distance from the rest of the family and other children).
To avoid hospitalising children in an advanced state of malnutrition, Première Urgence Internationale implements various prevention and early detection actions. In the event of a stay in hospital, Première Urgence Internationale also helps to cover the costs for the children and those accompanying them, and organises awareness-raising and prevention sessions to combat all the factors involved in malnutrition. Taken together, all these activities help to reduce the drop-out rate and avoid early discharge from hospital, which could be harmful to the child.
“We have received extensive training on the methods and criteria for managing malnutrition in our community. Première Urgence Internationale supports us in every way when our children are hospitalised, and I can only say thank you”, says Kadi.
Laurentine says that free treatment for malnutrition is “very important, because without it, many children would not be able to receive proper care, and children suffering from severe acute malnutrition would be left homeless in our village“.
Laurentine, a mother whose twins are in hospital at the CREN of the Fada Regional Hospital, has received a wash kit from Première Urgence Internationale.
Today Arcela, Kadi’s daughter, is cured and has been able to return home with her mother.
As for Laurentine’s children, one of the twins was evacuated, with the support of Première Urgence Internationale, to the capital, Ouagadougou, to be operated on for a cleft lip and palate.
The operation was a success and the whole family was able to return to their home village. The twins are doing well and have recovered.