SOS for refugee children in Burkina: Help and Health Initiative (HHI)

Achille Sawadogo
2 min readFeb 26, 2020
Logo of Help and Health Initiative

In a context of humanitarian crisis like the current case of Burkina Faso, some social groups are unfortunately more affected than others. Children and women are often the most vulnerable. Because they are two times victims (of the context and their social status) these people need support and it’s than urgent that we help them.

I am examining here the case of children of refugees resulting from the recurrent terrorist attacks in certain localities of Burkina Faso. In most cases, these children do not have access to adequate health care given the precarious financial situation of their parents.

Let’s focus on the situation in Ouahigouya.

Ouahigouya is a city located 183 km north-west of Ouagadougou. It is the 4th largest city in Burkina after Ouagadougou, Bobo Dioulasso and Koudougou. Being the Capital of the province of Yatenga, Ouahigouya is also the largest city in the North region.

According to a report (February 2019) of the U.N Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the only province of Yatenga had at that time at least 5,100 internally displaced persons (IDPs). The neighbouring province, Loroum would also count nearly more than 1000 IDPs. No less than 4000 host communities were also listed for these two provinces. But compared to other regions affected by the attacks, the northern region had fewer IDPs.

Let’s note that the Sahel region and the Centre-North region were most densely populated by IDPs.

Some interviews conducted in the field and relayed on the website show that the locality is receiving relatively less support than others.

More specifically, a group of young medical students have repeatedly observed the daily distress experienced by certain IDP families with their sick children. They decided to help them. They called their initiative “Help and Health initiative”, which aims to provide free health care to a certain number of IDP children, whose cases are deemed urgent.

For ethical reason, they wanted to keep the pathologies and the identity of patients confidential. They also ensured to have obtained the consent of at least one relative before establishing the medical prescriptions.

A written version of the initiative and an estimated budget were sent to me in order to raise funds through the Medium platform as well as Colmena Labs, one of our privileged partners.

The follow-up to this initiative, which I hope will be favourable, will be known in my articles of next month of March 2020 and on the Facebook page of Help and Health Initiative (HHI).



Achille Sawadogo

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