Health Care Missions
Health Care project
Some of the most important stakeholders in the conservation of Sahelo-Saharan wildlife are the nomadic people sharing habitat with the wildlife. Not surprisingly, healthcare is a major concern for nomadic people living in these remote areas and in particular for the elders, the women and the children. SCF has taken the lead on addressing this need and linking the health services provided to its efforts to safeguard both the wildlife and the people sharing habitat in the Termit & Tin Toumma Reserve. Because SCF has no direct expertise in providing healthcare services, it has partnered with Education et Santé sans frontière (Esafro) and the local healthcare authorities to provide these services.
Since the beginning of these health care missions in 2009, more than 4,000 illnesses have been treated and almost 4,500 vaccinations against yellow fever, poliomyelitis, tuberculosis, measles, tetanus, etc. (including booster shots) dispensed, mainly to women and children.
In addition to the regular healthcare missions and based on feedback from the field team, SCF and its partners have started to develop in 2015, dental care missions. Dental problems are very common within the nomad populations due to excess sugar consumption with the tea in particular and a complete absence of dental hygiene except the use of traditional tooth brush made of a stick of Salvadora persica. During these dental care missions, many local people were treated by Dr. Rabo and his team for tooth decay and tooth and buccal infections like papillomatosis or candidiasis. These missions have also highlighted inappropriate traditional practices like uvula ablation or iron-burn.
Raising awareness & Lobbying
During these missions, a program of public awareness is systematically undertaken by the medical team regarding traditional practices like ablation or iron-burn, which is used by local people to cure stomach problems or infection, the lack of dental hygiene and the overconsumption of sugar, tea and tobacco.
The mix of public awareness, lobbying with local and regional authorities and concrete medical care like vaccinations and treatments has largely participated in the change of behavior of local communities and the development of local health care system, since more and more local people are concerned about their health and do not hesitate to visit health care centers instead of using traditional practices. As a result, in May 2009 when we started health care missions in the area, there was only one health care center but not functional because very badly equipped without permanent medical staff. Now, there are 6 functional health care centers thanks to our lobby with the regional authorities.
In regards of the success of this initiative and the needs in the Termit & Tin Toumma National Nature Reserve, SCF and its partners will keep carrying out dental care missions in this region and are now extending their action in the Aïr mountains to provide healthcare, including dental cares to the local communities.