- Villagers become self-sufficient in providing for their health needs in sanitation, nutrition and disease prevention
- Villages have a preventive health delivery system
- Villages have access to specialized healthcare
For over 30 years, Ouelessebougou Alliance has worked in partnership with villagers to provide health solutions through sustainable projects. Early projects included construction of drinking and irrigation wells, building community gardens, constructing latrines and providing clean-water solutions. Each year, projects are chosen under the direction of the Mali staff to provide relevant and locally vetted programs which improve the quality of life for thousands of villagers.
17 – 18 Health Goals
Effective Health Agents & Matrons
Each of our 25 partnering villages has a resident Health Agent, Health Matron and Matron Apprentice. They are the first line of defense against health related issues. As well-respected individuals in their communities, the Health Agent and Matron work with the Village Health Council and villagers to achieve health goals in sanitation, nutrition and disease prevention. They are able to provide sustainable solutions that improve the quality of life for thousands of villagers in the region of Ouelessebougou.
Health Agents play a significant role in creating a healthy village environment for nearly 25,000 villagers. They work closely with the Healthy Village and Education Councils to determine and achieve hygiene and sanitation goals. Health Agents are critical to the Alliance’s success in distributing mosquito nets and vaccines in the villages in and around Ouelessebougou. They also provide basic wound care and CPR, assess other simple health issues and identify common diseases that require further care.
Health Matrons & Apprentices provide pre-natal advice to expectant mothers and are available to help with child delivery either in the village or at the public hospital. They also provide critical guidance to new mothers by teaching them the importance of nutrition, breastfeeding and the first 1,000 days of a baby’s life. Matrons also educate the villagers on women’s health issues. The matrons pass their knowledge on to the younger apprentices ensuring a seamless transition as the older matrons phase out of this important work.
This year the Agents will meet at the compound for training and sharing leadership experience. The Mali staff will visit each village for one-on-one training with the Matrons & Apprentices.
Effective Health Councils & Plans
To identify the most urgent health needs in each village, Healthy Village Workshops were created in 2005. Village chiefs form Village Health Councils and the Alliance facilitates planning sessions to help villagers identify their goals for a healthier village. The Healthy Village Workshop is a three phase process with villages completing one phase a year. Since these health plans began, incidences of malaria and diarrhea have decreased by significant amounts. Village cleanliness has improved and families are taught the importance of clean water solutions, vaccinations and proper sanitation.
This year the following villages will participate:
Faradie: Phase I
Folona: Phase II
Seliban: Phase III
Sanankorono: Phase III
Preventative Health Delivery System
Village families face many health risks and diseases every day. One in five children does not live past his or her fifth birthday because of preventative disease such as dysentery, measles and malaria. Disease prevention is key to enhancing the quality of life. The Alliance works with the villages to provide for their needs in sanitation, nutrition and disease prevention. Projects include mosquito netting, immunizations, bleach, hand-washing buckets, latrines, drinking wells, nutrition and gardening.
The populations at highest risk for malaria are children under the age of five and adults older than 50. Mosquito nets prove to be the best antidote for malaria prevention so the Alliance subsidizes the cost of the nets by selling them to villagers for $1 USD. Data strongly suggests that families do not have a proper understanding of the causes of malaria, so the Alliance includes health training with every net distributed. A family of four can sleep under one net for up to 3 years—protecting them from Africa’s most life-threatening disease.
This year the Alliance plans to distribute over 1,250 nets and train families on the proper use and care to prevent disease.
The Alliance has a long-standing relationship with the government of Mali to provide vaccinations in villages in- and -around the Ouelessebougou commune. While the Malian government has the means to provide the vaccinations, they are unable to distribute them to villagers in rural communities. The Alliance provides vaccinations for infants and children under the ages of 5 for the following 9 life-threatening diseases: polio, yellow fever, measles, tuberculosis, diphtheria, hepatitis A, vitamin A deficiency, the flu and tetanus. Expectant mothers are also vaccinated.
This year the Alliance will provide over 5,000 vaccinations to children under age 5 and expectant mothers.
Nurturing Nutrition Program
Malnutrition is a serious concern in Mali. To fight the issue, the Alliance has developed an agricultural program specifically aimed at village women and children. The Nurturing Nutrition program provides education on nutrition and gardening practices so women and children can work together to produce healthy food for their families. The program includes the OA Women’s Training Garden and School Garden.
OA Women’s Training Garden
In partnership with Feed the World, Alliance staff works with the Ouelessebougou Alliance Women’s Association garden to provide training and increase productivity. Since 2016, over 80 women have received training on efficient gardening and composting practices, increasing crop production and incorporating their garden produce into their family’s diets. Additionally, they are taught how to manage products for consumption, sale and preserve products they cannot sell. They see great benefits from the extra food and extra income.
The Alliance includes nutrition training in the curriculum for all 12 village schools. By educating the students on the basic practices of proper nutrition and gardening practices, our goal is to empower a generation that will suffer less from nutrition related illnesses. Famana is our pilot school for a school garden. Here the students receive training and hands-on experience growing nutritious food. The school garden is modeled after the Women’s Training Garden. The children receive the same education as their mothers and together they can take that knowledge back to their families to fight malnutrition at home.
This year the Alliance will construct two wells for the school garden in Famana and continue to train women and children in the importance of nutrition.
Days for Girls
The Alliance partners with Days for Girls International to provide sustainable feminine hygiene solutions and health education to girls and women in Ouelessebougou. The Alliance shares Days for Girls’ goal to “empower every woman and girl to become an Ambassador of Women’s Health in her school, her neighborhood and her community.” The Days for Girls (DfG) project aligns with all three of the Alliance’s program initiatives: health, education and economic development. In the arena of health, girls and women are able to prevent disease, engage in vital conversations about women’s health and safety, and have access to sustainable feminine hygiene solutions.
This year the Alliance plans to open an enterprise in Ouelessebougou. The enterprise will create long-term sustainable solutions, support local women to meet the hygiene needs in their community, provide even more access to DfG kits and create an income opportunity for DfG Ambassadors.
Access to Specialized Health Care
One billion people worldwide lack adequate access to primary healthcare. The situation is especially severe in sub-Saharan Africa where access to affordable health care and medicine is complicated further by geography, extreme poverty and cultural traditions. The Alliance partners with local Utah medical teams to provide services that are either unavailable or too expensive for our village friends. In line with our goal to strengthen the sustainability of our efforts, medical expeditions work with local Malian doctors and medical staff and also involve our village health agents and matrons.
This year there are dental and ophthalmology expeditions planned to perform surgeries, provide annual check-ups for children and model proper health care for Malian health workers.