Wednesday 5 May 2010

Burkina Faso Project

Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world and suffers from an ineffective governmental infra structure. It is a landlocked West African country, north of Ghana and formerly known as the Republic of Upper Volta. There are no valuable and natural resources to be exploited in the country and 90% of the population work in some form of agriculture and cattle raising. But agricultural activity is constantly threatened by drought. This is exacerbated by the scarcity of agricultural land, (18% of the total territory), which is situated mainly in the south of the country, creating an increasing burden of poverty. Closely linked with these problems is a progressive degradation of the climate, growing desertification of the scarce productive land. Frequent droughts and the increasing population migration from the country to the cities further complicate these difficulties.

Moreover, there is a continuing severe epidemic of measles in the country, mainly amongst children under 5 years old, and malaria is endemic. These major economic, climatic and health problems are made worse by a lack of basic sanitation, poor environmental and personal hygiene, dysfunctional management systems, illiteracy, ignorance and a lack of community participation in managing health problems.

The Order of St Lazarus’s involvement in providing positive and sustainable aid to Burkina Faso was inspired by Cavalieri Giovanni Ferrara GCLJ, Grand Prior of Italy, after seeing a TV documentary on the country. An aid project was subsequently developed by the Italian Grand Priory’s National Hospitaller Dr Nella Bucciero, as a joint Italian and French venture

The aims of the Order of St Lazarus Burkina Faso Project are the construction of a health centre with diagnostic equipment, a dispensary, a section for general surgery, in-patient care and first aid, together with a school of nursing. It is hoped to complete the project by 2012. At the same time, the project also identifies a need to educate the population into a healthy culture of hygiene.