Too many children die of illnesses that could easily be treatedThe problem
In Western Africa, 1 out of 6 children dies before the age of 5, and in 60% of the cases, death is caused by the complication of benign illnesses (malaria, respiratory infections, and diarrhea). These illnesses could easily be prevented as well as treated in the existing local medical centers.
In the cities were we work, primary health structures do exist and are within geographical reach of the populations. These structures have the means to treat such diseases if they were taken early. But for lack of knowledge, for fear or for financial issues, families wait too long to seek care when their children get sick. A lot of work has been done to build healthcare structures in the last decade ; it is now time to break the barriers to those structures !
Families fail to seek medical care when their children get sickCauses
The barriers impeding access to care are numerous. The first and most important one is the financial barrier : these countries do not have social security systems yet and families have to bear the costs of medical care. However, because they are financially precarious, they cannot always afford such costs when their child gets sick, or often wait to be sure the child is actually sick to avoid unnecessary medical expenses.
Lack of knowledge and information about the medical services available, traditional beliefs and difficulties to recognize symptoms can also restrain families from seeking care.
Eventually, many families avoid going to the local health centers because they distrust the medical staff and fear being badly received when they come.
Waiting too long before seeking medical care has dreadful consequences for the survival of the child, as well as for the healthcare system : the low volume of patients engenders economic difficulties for the health centers, which impedes their capacity to offer quality health services.
Building a sustainable link between families and health centersRecreate the link
Therefore, our objective is to lift the barriers preventing families from seeking medical care and create a sustainable link between them and the local health centers. Thus, families will be able to keep their children healthy and guarantee them a rapid access to quality care.
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