In Senegal and Gambia, healthcare facilities are still very inadequate. In rural villages, the healthcare is almost always left in the hands of self-organized clinics or run by voluntary associations.
Where there are functioning health centres, users are discouraged from using the service since they need to pay in full for them.
Adequate and free healthcare is not guaranteed even in the case of serious chronic diseases. Also, during hospitalisation, patients are required to buy the prescribed medicines from outside.
These healthcare shortcomings, the difficult economic situation, and the widespread lack of education, increase the tendency to move away from official health services, favouring alternative medicines. Implementing health prevention systems is therefore hindered.
Consequently, healthcare projects implemented by voluntary associations such as Energia, become essential.
Since 2002, Energia per i Diritti Umani has been organizing networks of healthcare supporters to fight and defeat malaria in the villages of Mbour and Thiès regions in Senegal, and in the suburbs of Dakar.
The strategies proposed by Stop Malaria include:
- Training days on malaria prevention:
We periodically organize healthcare training days for the new Senegalese volunteers who joined the campaign. We train them, using paper and multimedia materials, on malaria prevention and treatment methods, and organizational methods to multiply the campaign in new villages and neighbourhoods. Healthcare supporters are the basis of the Stop Malaria campaign, which develops and evolves every year according to their needs and their will.
- Itinerant theatrical performance for children in schools:
The theatrical performance is a simple and straightforward way to teach children how to protect themselves from malaria. They learn how to avoid contact with the mosquito and thus prevent the disease, while having fun.
- Self-organization of the population:
Healthcare supporters organise village cleaning days, with the support of all inhabitants, to remove plastic and waste that contribute to water stagnation and therefore to the proliferation of mosquitoes.
- Campaign dissemination:
To expand the network of volunteers in the area, Energia regularly organises events and dissemination days. Among these, we have already organised two editions of the “Stop Malaria Football Tournament”. The tournament involves a huge amount of young football fans, who would not otherwise be easily gathered together. During each tournament, raising awareness and distributing numerous information materials allows a wide dissemination of strategies to fight malaria. In the 2011 Stop Malaria tournament, 6 villages from the Mbour and the Thies regions played against each other. Thanks to a generous Italian benefactor we were able to provide uniforms for the participants and a trophy for the winners.
In 2018, projects were reactivated in the Senegalese villages of Ndiadiane, Sossop and Tataguine, with the collaboration of various primary and secondary schools.
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Energia organises courses in Senegal and India on hygiene, prevention of malaria and sexually transmitted diseases.
The doctors and the nurses of the partner association Diritti al Cuore Onlus are foremost available to raise awareness on the importance of hygiene, the first aid activities and the most common diseases among Senegalese children (i.e. dysentery, intestinal parasites and malaria).
These courses are regularly held in Pikine, on the outskirts of Dakar, and in the villages of the regions of Thiès and Mbour, where Energia carries out its projects.
In the framework of the project La casa di Marietou (Marietou house), a clinic has been established. In that clinic, the doctors of Diritti al Cuore and the medical and nursing students regularly organise visits, assisting the women and children who attend the centre first.
The clinic represents an important milestone in the women’s and children’s healthcare in the whole Pikine Icotaf district.
In other contexts, regular medical check-ups and hygiene awareness courses are organised in nursery, primary and secondary schools.