Spotlight on Burkina Faso: Maternal Health
Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa with a population of just under 16 million. Burkina Faso has one of the lowest GDP per capita figures in the world, $634 USD (World Bank).
This is the first of many issues that will be written monthly, addressing a topic related
to the WakaWaka in a particular country. In this way, we aim to provide you with
relevant information regarding their location, their use and their need.
500 WakaWaka lights have been distributed to the Bazega district of Burkina Faso by ADRA UK in partnership with the European Commission. Two thirds went to refugee
families from Mali in upper Burkina Faso. The lights were part of an emergency
response of the ADRA network.
Health care in Burkina Faso is limited, and it is estimated that that there are as few as 10 physicians per 100,000 people. In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are only 41 nurses and 13 midwives per 100,000 people.
“Globally, an estimated 287 000 women died during pregnancy and childbirth in 2010, a decline of 47% from levels in 1990. Most of them died due to the lack of access to emergency and medical care.”
Poverty is a key contributing factor in preventable maternal death, particularly for impoverished women living in rural areas who face geographical obstacles to accessing healthcare (Amnesty International). As many families spend up to 20% of their income on kerosene and non-renewable fuel sources, the arrival of a WakaWaka light would increase their welfare, and increase the possibility of seeking medical help when needed.
In developing countries such as Burkina Faso, women are at risk for pregnancy complications and maternal mortality due to the arduous task of transporting heavy loads of firewood or other fuels. Women in particular suffer from severe burns each year due to frequent use of open fires for cooking, heating and lighting. This limits their mobility, their working capability and their ability to care for their family.Trade, not aid, is the solution for women in developing areas. Women can play a significant role as they often shine in entrepreneurial roles and can influence their current network for distribution, marketing, and sales. Women are the secret weapon in fighting hunger and illness. Research by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) shows that educated moms have healthier families. Empowering women and thereby improving their situation, is one of the main goals of the WakaWaka Foundation’s Micro-Entrepreneur program.