Supporting a Project for the Promotion of Women’s Health in Burkina Faso
Project location: BURKINA FASO, Ouagadougou
Project start date: June 2012 - Project end date: May 2013
Project number: 2012-048
The project goal is to improve the physical, psychological and social well being of women, men and adolescents living in sector 27 of Ouagadougou, by attaining higher standards of reproductive health (RH) and by promoting the prevention of female genital mutilations / cutting FGM/C.
Health care and prevention services were provided by by a gynecologist, a midwife, a nurse and included general medical consultations, primary gynaecological and obstetrical care, vaccinations, prevention and detection of breast and cervical cancer, family planning services (information, counselling and provision of contraceptive methods), pre and post-natal care services (women who have recently given birth received information on breast-feeding, family planning, baby care), preventive program on reproductive tract infections, sexually transmitted infections including Hiv/Aids and FGM/C.
The CBF established an effective referral system with a large number of national and international, governmental and non governmental organizations working in the health, legal, social and psychological fields. This system has contributed to the improvement of the services offered by the Centre. The referral of cases has allowed the Centre to offer women an integrated and comprehensive package of services.
Psycho-social counselling was provided by one psychologist and two community-based facilitators to women, men and youth suffering from psychological disorders, depression and/or are victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, FGM/C. Youth started to access this service for problems related to forced marriage, undesired pregnancies, family. However, their number is still limited mainly due to the fear of social judgment and the taboo on psychological and mental health.
Legal counselling and assistance were provided to women by a lawyer on marriage, heritage, divorce and separation, FGM/C, family law, domestic violence, children's custody, alimony, paternity recognition.
Youth Space services. The CBF offered services to adolescents and young people of Sector 27 on Saturdays, when school is not in session. Services were provided free of charge and without appointment. Privacy was assured and working groups on sexual and RH issues, trainings and info-entertainment activities were organized.
Community awareness and education on FP&SRH.
Games without taboo. The objective of the game is to sensitize the community and youth on issues related to RH. Sessions were conducted by the peer educators in schools and in the community. The questions that youth found the most difficult were related to the care of one's own body, being able to say yes and to say no, react to violence, HIV/AIDS, use of condom. For youth, the change in risky behaviours starts with the knowledge of their own body in order to be able to take care of it to minimize the risks.
Theatre shows. They are an effective tool utilized with poorly literate or illiterate population to understand social and personal problems and to find a solution. The methodology used is that of collective creation, which gives the actor and the audience the possibility to give their personal contribution to the show. During the sketch, shocking or unpleasant situations are presented to provoke a feeling of rebellion and a desire for change. At the end of the sketch the public is invited to find solutions to the problems described. A play on undesired pregnancies was created.
A sensitization and screening campaign on breast and cervical cancer was conducted. 16 young and 16 women peer educators were trained by the CBF on breast and cervical cancer prevention to strengthen their knowledge on the subject and their capacity to sensitize and raise awareness of the youth and to advice community to participate in the CBF prevention and screening program.
Team work. The staff, a team of professionals, brought together their specific know-how to enrich the group as a whole and to identify and offer new and possible solutions to problems faced by the Centre and its users.
The involvement of the community was key to an effective implementation of the project, as this facilitated the relation and reciprocal understanding between the centre's staff and the surrounding community, the knowledge of their needs and concerns and the centre's ability to respond to them.
The Centre had a proactive approach. Outreach services, dissemination of information were achieved through workshops conducted outside the CBF and home visits.
The promotion of men's involvement in women's reproductive health issues was a very relevant component of the CBF, based on a gender perspective of reproductive health considering both the contributions of women and men as essential.
- Final Results obtained
A total of 4,612 among women, men, adolescents and youth improved their sexual and reproductive status and adopted a more aware attitude toward their health care as well as their reproductive choices. The project also contributed to the improvement of the psychological health of about 50 women and empowered about 178 women in the exercise of their rights, and subsequently in their decision-making capacities at family and community level. The access of youth of sector 27 to the CBF services increased thanks to the information, awareness and mobilization activities conducted in the community by the Youth Peer Educators and the CBF staff. The increase was registered for all services. The CBF activities offered youth the chance to openly discuss about issues related to their sexual behaviour taking into account its health and psychological implications.
Community awareness and education on family planning and sexual and reproductive health increased.
About 23 sessions of games without taboo were conducted by the peer educators in schools and in the community and reached 200 youth (71 girls and 129 boys).
A total of 8 theatre shows were realized and attended by about 1,225 participants including 344 girls, 135 women, 480 boys and 266 men.
The sensitization and screening campaign on breast and cervical cancer included 102 sessions on the issue and was attended by a total of 2,813 participants (2,580 women and 233 men). As a result, 83.29% of the female attendants participated in the CBF screening program. After the sensitization, a 10-day screening campaign was organized by the CBF medical team (gynaecologist, midwife and nurse), which reached 366 women.