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A conversation under the Baobab: health care in rural areas

20170208_103152A little girl carrying a small bowl walks towards the large baobab tree in the courtyard of the village. She starts to run faster and waving as she sees us. Together with a local Christian nurse I’ve come to visit Mama Helen in Tiadiaye, a village in a dry region. Mama Helen, the wife of the pastor, has been running a health project in this village for more than 10 years. Every week she makes porridge for the children and talk to mothers about healthy nutrition. Although it is mostly millet and peanuts growing in the region, most mothers know now how to use local products to make a healthy meal for their children. Still there are many other health problems in the village. And as we sit under the Baobab tree, the mothers share their stories…

20170208_134117Once a month I visit a clinic or health project outside the city. These are initiatives of local churches that want to show their commitment and compassion to the community where they belong. Particularly in rural areas, the need is often high and good healthcare is hard to reach or too expensive. Some churches start a clinic, others – like Mama Helen – a project for community health. In Keru Yakaar we want to support and advise these initiatives.

20170208_130500In the village of Mama Helen malnutrition is no longer the biggest problem, but many other problems still exist. A woman shares that when her child is sick, they must wait for the horse cart (the only means of public transport) to take her to government clinic in a neighboring village. Once arrived, it turns out the nurse is not around, or that the drugs are out of stock. She now thinks twice before going and this brings risks for het sick child. Another lady shares that when her neighbor had given birth, the horse cart came so late that she has given birth on the cart.

20170208_120843I discuss with Mama Helen what the church could do for the women. The congregation would be delighted to help their fellow villagers. However, it is difficult to begin to address this problem. Together with Mama Helen I visit the government clinic. The contacts are good and the first relationships are being built. It is a first step towards better healthcare in Tiadiaye.20170208_114122


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