Ending confinement in Burkina Faso : back to the LucAS Center

Caregivers at the LucAS Centre, May 2020

The Lucq Albert Sawadogo Center (LucAS) which, since its creation, benefits from monthly subsidies, donated by its Spanish partners and friends, is providing since January 2019, nursing care to the community of Hounde, in the Tuy province, Hauts Bassins Region in Burkina Faso.

While the increasing number of public and private health care centers in the municipality, the efficiency of the service provided remains questionable. The LucAS Center stands out for the quality, cleanliness and comfort of its infrastructure. In fact, the nurses showcase great care for patients and demonstrate professionalism in their work. A long with that, the Center offers bigger spaces and limits crowds which can be very dissatisfying for the patients. All this is offered at an affordable social price.

However, some operational obstacles can still be recorded. The main difficulty according to the first respondent of the center, is the limited accessibility of the center. This is due to the poor road conditions and the fact that the center is not located in the center of the city. An additional noticeable difficulty is the low attendance rate resulting from the lack of information. This is the result of the slow word of mouth process, as health centers aren’t allowed to make advertisements. Besides, private health centers are often seen as high price service providers and therefore, are a privilege only, for the wealthier in the community.

Nevertheless, the visibility of the Center is consistently increasing as it can be indicated through the reactions on our social media platforms. Field activities are also undertaken to establish a closer relation between the LucAS Center and the local population. This aims at allowing the patients and the most vulnerable to access the best treatments, crucial, both for their health and their wellbeing.

Activities conducted in May 2020

The followings are the daily routine tasks operated in the center and identified by the head representative of the Center:

- Consultation of patients suffering from pathologies such as malaria, intestinal parasitosis, accidental trauma, etc.

- Raising patients’ awareness of those diseases and teaching them preventive methods;

- Reception and referral of some patients to qualified Health Care Providers;

- Maintenance of the facility, and the equipment and ensuring cleanliness and hygiene on site.

But since March 2020, all health centers were summoned by the government to implement high protective and sanitary measures due to COVID-19. Therefore, the LucAS Center applied restrictive measures which resulted in putting a few activities into a pending phase for the months of March through April 2020.

In April and May 2020, the healthcare team initiated an anti-COVID 19 awareness session aimed at the local community. This event took place on May 5th, 2020 at the LucAS Center. According to the head representative, it was a busy day which demanded meticulous coordination to ensure the safety of the community members. Indeed in the morning of Saturday, May 16, 2020, well before 8:00 am, a volunteer group, formed by local young people, men and women, converged on the Health Center and were ready and excited to help.

Volunteers and community members gathered to clean the center, May 2020

After distributing individual protective masks to volunteers, the healthcare team demonstrated and raised awareness about the importance of hand washing and the use of disinfectants such as hydroalcoholic gels, soap, ashes, etc.

The 45 volunteers, after observing these measures, were then welcomed in the facility to operate a cleaning and disinfections session.

Conducting such operations required that the Center abide by the national rules and regulations with regard to COVID19. The healthcare team, led by the first manager of the LucAS Center, oversaw the work and made sure volunteers and community members received the support that they needed.

At 8:30 am: The Center conducted, free distribution of masks to a group of 45 people at the entrance of the Center, demonstration and awareness raising on hand washing (using disinfectants such as gel, soap, ash, etc.), cleaning and disinfection of the facility.

Hand-Washing session at the entrance of the Center

After working for over 5 hours, the Center was clean and shining. The first representative of the Center expressed her satisfaction and gratefulness. She particularly praised the fact that this was made possible thanks to a joint effort of both the center and the community members. She also expressed her gratitude to the group of volunteers on behalf of all the health care workers in the Center.

At the end of this activity, all the volunteers received free consultation and treatment before they left the center around 3pm.

Mandela Washington Fellow, for Young African Leaders — Civic engagement — Development Cooperation, Economist, Project Management skills, Free learner