Saturday, 22 December 2012

MALNUTRITION: Burkina Faso: a critical problem

Many children in Burkina Faso die from malnutrition, but a hospital in Kaya is now receiving support to help change this

Cyrille Ouédraogo, director of Kaya's regional hospital, Sierra Leone
Cyrille Ouédraogo, director of Kaya's regional hospital, Burkina Faso. Photograph: Ollivier Girard Photography
Smartly dressed and sitting in her office, Cyrille Ouédraogo, director of Kaya's regional hospital, creates a formidable impression.
"Severe malnutrition has become a critical problem in my country," says Ouédraogo, her anguish and frustration clear. "Some mothers have lost two or three children to malnutrition because they do not have the means or knowledge to provide nutritious meals for their children.
"Generally women delay going to the hospital because they have no means to pay for the treatment. But now, thanks to the support of Save the Children paying for the medicine, the death rates have reduced. We can now rehabilitate children and we are proud of this."
Ouédraogo and her staff are working 24 hours a day to ensure the best possible treatment is provided to children suffering from malnutrition. Every three hours, the most severe cases are drip-fed the nutritious milk product, F-75.
The stream of mothers and children can seem endless, but Ouédraogo's intense compassion fuels her commitment to her work.
"What breaks my heart most is seeing the suffering of the mothers. As a mother myself, I feel real pain in my heart," she says.
With a background in social economics, a master's degree in public health, 10 years' experience in Ouagadougou's paediatric hospital and training in France, Ouédraogo has the vision to see the situation change.
"Africa has many things to share with people and I'd like to see an increase of budget granted to health, because health is an essential element to hasten the development of a nation," she says.

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