Sunday, February 21, 2010

Wau - community based health programme

Danish Red Cross has for several years been working with Sudan Red Crescent in the implementation of a health programme in Western Bahr El Ghazal State. Basically, the programme is focusing on reestablishing small local health clinices in the villages, so that the local population has access to basic health services and also knowledge on preventative methods such as hygiene in the family and community. Additionally, we work on rehabilitating water post, so there is access to clean water and we offer technical support for the families to prepare their own latrines.

Basic things such as access to toilets, clean drinking water and health education makes a world of difference to these small and often isolated local communities where more than every fourth child dies before turning five (and often due to easily preventable diseases such as diarrea or malaria) and where too many women without access to qualified birth attendance die during or shortly after labour.

During 2006-09 Danish Red Cross and Sudan Red Crescent have been involved in this work in 8 communities. In the beginning of 2010 we went to visit Barakol, a small town with 1500 inhabitants about 45 min. Drive outside Wau. We examined the current conditions of the non-functioning health clinic, 2 water posts in need of maintenance and a village without any access to health care beside from the 40 km long bicycle ride to Wau.

We had a brief meeting with the Chief and his people to discuss how to help and work together to improve the health conditions in his village. Thanks to help from colleagues and villagers alike the translation from English to Arabic to Jur language made it possible to reach a common understanding. The following week the work was initiated and the first steps towards a healthier life in Barakol taken together.