The healthcare facilities in Senegal and Gambia are still extremely inadequate. In the rural villages, health is in the hands of self-organised clinics and voluntary associations.
Where people find operating healthcare facilities, they are obliged to pay to benefit from services and this is extremely discouraging.
There is no adequate and free healthcare, not even in case of severe chronic conditions. Moreover, during the hospital stay all medicines and medications need to be imported from abroad.
These inadequacies, added to the difficult economic situation and to the widespread ignorance, push people away from the official sanitary services towards the use of alternative medicines, disadvantaging the implementation of preventive healthcare systems.
Therefore, the healthcare projects carried out by voluntary associations such as Energia become fundamental.
Since 2002, Energia per i Diritti Umani organises networks of healthcare promoters in order to fight and defeat malaria in the regions of Mbour and Thiès in Senegal and in the outskirts of Dakar.
The fighting strategies proposed by Stop Malaria are:
- Training days on the prevention of malaria:
We periodically organise healthcare training days for the new Senegalese volunteers joining the campaign. Using handouts and multimedia materials, we train them on preventive methodologies and we teach them how to spread the project in new villages and areas.
- Road-shows for the children of the schools:
Theatre shows are a simple and direct way to teach the little ones how to protect themselves from malaria. While children are having fun, they learn how to avoid contact with mosquitoes and therefore how to prevent the disease.
- Self-organisation of the population:
The healthcare promoters organise villages cleaning days with the support of all the inhabitants so as to get rid of plastic and general waste causing water-logging and the reproduction of mosquitoes.
- Campaign advertisement:
We also organise advertising events with the aim of enlarging our network of volunteers in the territory. Among the events, we have already realised two editions of the Stop Malaria football tournament. This competition captivates a great number of young people united by their passion for football, who could not be reached in any other way. During each tournament we inform people and distribute our materials, allowing the spread of preventive measures against malaria. In the 2011/2012 edition, 6 villages in the regions of Mbour and Thiès participated and thanks to a kind Italian benefactor we had been able to provide the competitors with uniforms and the winners with a trophy.
Energia organises courses on hygiene, malaria prevention and sexually transmitted diseases in a centre called La Casa di Marietou.
Thanks to the availability of the doctors and the nurses of the Fatou studia con Energia (www.dirittialcuore.it/fatou.php) project, Senegalese children get informed on the importance of hygiene, on first aid activities and on the diseases they are most likely to be affected by, such as diarrhoea, intestinal parasites and malaria.
These meetings are periodically organised in Pikine, in the outskirts of Dakar and in the regions of Thiès e Mbour, where Energia carries out its projects.
A general practice clinic will soon be set up as part of the La Casa di Marietou project, where the Diritti al Cuore doctors (www.dirittialcuore.it) and the medicine and nursing students of the project Fatou studia con Energia will firstly take care of the women and children of the centre. The girls from Fatou studia con Energia are Senegalese students supported in their studies by Diritti al Cuore, which, on the basis of reciprocity, will provide free medical examinations and health prevention courses in Pikine, in the outskirts of Dakar and in many villages in Senegal.
The general practice clinic will represent a certainty for the healthcare of women and children in the whole area of Pikine Icotaf.