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WAHA International in partnership with the Ministry of Health of Senegal and the Fistula Foundation has launched a project to treat obstetric fistula and reduce maternal mortality and morbidities in the region of Kedougou.

Senegal, on the west coast of Africa has a population of nearly 13 million people. The life expectancy at birth for women is 61.34 years and for men it’s 57.48 years. Data from the demographic and health survey's shows that around 64 percent of births occur in rural areas. According to the latest UN report, on average in Senegal one out of every 54 women will die from pregnancy related causes during her lifetime.

In Kedougou region, a rural area east of Senegal where WAHA is working, the maternal death rate is nearly twice the national average. The limited health infrastructure and lack of road access are major factors explaining the low rates of skilled attendance at delivery in most of the rural areas.

1. Fistula treatment
WAHA works in collaboration with the University of Dakar (Service Universitaire d'Urologie et Andrologie de la Faculte de Medicine), the Hôpital Général de Grand Yoff, the Institut de Formation et de Recherche en Urologie et en Sante Familiale (IFRU-SF) and the Senegalese Initiative for Fistula Eradication (SIFE) to provide surgical repair for women who are suffering from obstetric fistula and to support training activities for local surgeons. Particular attentions is given to Tambacounda and Kedougou regions where maternal death figures are high.

2. Safe motherhood project in Kedougou (see our video below)
On the 28th of August 2010 a project to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality in the Kedougou region was officially launched. The project covers over 100 villages or small communities in the region, which experience the highest maternal death rates in Senegal.  The main components of the projects include:
i)  improving the quality of maternal care provided in local health centers and the regional hospital;
ii) using community mobile telephones to improve the referral of women to hospital for delivery 
iii) using motorbike ambulances to reduce to transport emergency cases to hospital
iv)  and a community outreach actvitiees to encourage greater use of maternalhealth services.

WAHA International has been working on the development of adapted motorbike ambulances that are now being used to facilitate referrals for obstetric care in rural communities. These ambulances have place for a patients and her caregiver, and will help to increase the number of women who access life-saving emergency obstetric care.

The involvement of the population is a key component of the project. Each village in the region has delegated a health representative, called  a  “Badien Gokh”. The Badien Gokhs have the task of providing information on the benefits of accessing antenatal care during pregnancy and of giving birth with a skilled attendant. The use of mobile phones helps the Badien Gokhs with their outreach activities and above all allows them to call for the motorbike ambulance when there is an emergency

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