African steps

11/13/2017, Dakar, Senegal, Francesca writes:

A new partnership for maternal and child health

Meeting between CSG, PADESS and Senegalese doctors


In Senegal, health is far from being a right guaranteed to everyone; budget cuts and ever-changing priorities negatively affect the maternal and child health sectors, which do not receive the funds they need to provide women and new born children with adequate assistance before, during and after childbirth. Official data shows a sharp decline in maternal and neonatal mortality in the last two decades, but the situation remains alarming and certainly far from international standards. Giving birth in Senegal nowadays still means, for many women, endangering their own lives and that of their babies. Complications such as bleeding, infections and abortions combine with the critical conditions of most Senegalese women, who are malnourished and exhausted by burdening domestic work, and often by numerous successive childbirths. Tradition, moreover, plays a crucial role, especially in the remote regions of the country's hinterland: here most women give birth at home, where the sanitary conditions are inadequate and, in case of complications, it is very difficult to reach hospitals or equipped centres. The price of childbirth also makes hospital care inaccessible to poorer families and sometimes death, complications take place in the very hospitals whose structures are decrepit, and the equipment is insufficient.

Inauguration fo the new Postes de santé in Thiès

In this framework, the Global Health Centre (Centro di Salute Globale - CSG) of the Tuscany Region in Italy, which is the operating structure of the Meyer University Hospital in Florence, started its work in Senegal, with the objective of restructuring and equipping the "postes de santé", notably maternal and child health centres. This project is part of the initiatives of the International Healthcare Cooperation of the Tuscany Region. Recently, the inauguration of two health centres in the Thiés region, the restructuring of the maternity ward of the Thiès Regional Hospital as well as the experience gained by the CSG in providing services aimed at reducing maternal and child mortality in Senegal, determined the establishment of a valuable collaboration with the Senegalese Ministry of Women, Family and Childhood, under the Support Program for Economic and Social Development of Senegal (Projet d’Appui au Développement Economique et Social du Sénégal - PADESS), funded by the Italian Cooperation. The PADESS's objective is to support the implementation of national poverty reduction policies and strategies, aimed at the socio-economic autonomy of the most disadvantaged groups (primarily women and young people), and at a sustainable local economic development put in practice by sustaining small and medium-sized enterprises.

One of the new Postes de santé of Thiès

Over the last few days I have participated in the finalisation and signing of the partnership agreement between the PADESS and the CSG. In the framework of this important project of the Italian Cooperation, the CSG will carry out technical assistance activities related to the construction, renovation and organisation of some health facilities in the regions of Dakar, Kaolack and Sédhiou. Professional figures of the Tuscany Health Care System will also be committed to training and awareness-raising activities on maternal and child health.

Based on CSG and PADESS coordinators’ mutual desire to work together to help improve health services for women and children in Senegal, it has been established that about twenty new "postes de santé" will be built and/or restructured and equipped, giving particular attention to the most disadvantaged municipalities and departments.

In additions, this new partnership demonstrates that Senegal can’t economically and socially develop without the full development and well-being of women and children.

Francesca

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