Maternity Ward

February 28 2022 | by

IN THE VILLAGES of the Centre-Est region of Burkina Faso, many women give birth alone at home. “Deliveries at home without the assistance of a nurse or midwife can cause consequences, with complications that affect not only the health of the mother, but also the health of the child,” explains Father Mathieu Sidbewende Balima, Executive Secretary of OCADES. “Our project aims not only to minimise the risks to women who give birth without nursing assistance, but also improve their conditions of care. The building of a maternity hospital was one of our priority projects to provide relief to these women and improve the health of newborn babies. Monitoring the women is essential, and improving the health of the babies remains a priority that the project will also resolve after its completion.”

OCADES, The Catholic Organisation for Development and Solidarity, implements social pastoral work for vulnerable populations. “We’ve been working to improve the health of the population of the municipality of Garango for three years,” says Fr. Mathieu. “In general, the beneficiaries of OCADES projects are the most vulnerable populations, and especially people with disabilities in the Centre-Est region.” Previously, St. Anthony’s Charities have supported projects by OCADES to provide a well and solar pump to the schoolchildren and girls in vocational training in Kougsapla, and the provision of a multipurpose room in Tenkodogo.


Lack of health care


There was a general lack of health-care infrastructure in Garango, and in particular, the village of Zangapida had no health services. With the support of the village chief, local authorities, and civil society, the local population had been requesting the establishment of a health centre to treat the population since 2018. OCADES has answered this request in part by constructing an ultrasound centre, an ophthalmological centre for eye care, and a small laboratory to aid in the diagnosis of diseases through blood tests. The building of a maternity hospital in Zangapida is a strengthening of the capacity of the growing medical services.

“For the three years from 2019-2021 our focus has been on child and maternal health,” continues Fr. Mathieu. “This project will improve the delivery conditions not only of women from the village of Zangapida, but also from the surrounding villages of Zanga, Ouarégou, Zigla, Polassé, Boussouma, Dangaré, Komtoega, Zidre, Topra, Zanpalé, and Boura. All the women in these villages will benefit from more specialised deliveries.”


€45,800 granted


Zangapida is located in the municipality of Tenkodogo. It has an estimated population of 1,270, composed mainly of Bissa and Mossi people. Their religious beliefs include Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, and Animism. “The main activities of the families are agriculture during the rainy season, and market gardening at the village dam, which brings together young women to grow vegetables, tomatoes, and onions,” explains Fr. Mathieu. “The main production sectors are agriculture and livestock. Agriculture is based on the cultivation of sorghum, millet, sesame, and peanuts, which are the main food crops. Most families have sheep or goats which provide stable income. But the economic and social characteristics of the village are weak and the income-generating activities are not sustainable because of the poverty of the inhabitants.”

The construction plans for the new maternity hospital met the standards of the Burkina Faso Ministry of Health and also took into account the socio-cultural realities of the local populations. A technician was also hired to ensure that deadlines would be met, and to monitor the works during the realisation of the project to ensure compliance with building regulations. The total cost of the project was €52,200. After local contributions of €6,400 were taken into account, a sum of €45,800 was approved by St. Anthony’s Charities.


Four phases


Work began on January 25, 2021. The company responsible for supplying cement and iron for the construction stocked up ready for the work ahead, and different types of bricks were made. The land required for the new building was staked out and then cleared before channels were excavated. From February 15, posts were put in place together with chains for re-enforced concrete before several layers of bricks were laid to ground level. The second phase began on receipt of funds on March 5. Concrete was poured and the foundations completed. Construction of the walls commenced.

The third phase saw the completion of the walls, and then of carpentry, roofing, and plastering. Access ramps were constructed, and all electrical installations completed together with the necessary plumbing work to supply drinking water.

The fourth and final instalment was received on June 6, and this enabled the doors and windows to be put in place, and for them to be painted, together with the whole building and the blue cornices. “No difficulties were encountered during the final phase, and everything has been built according to the regulations set by the Ministry of Health,” reports Fr. Mathieu. “The equipment for the entire maternity hospital was ordered, delivered, and in place during the month of September.”


First consultations


In the future, OCADES will continue to take care of the maintenance of the maternity building together with the cleaning staff. “We plan to train women to carry out the work in collaboration with the nuns who are already at the centre,” says Fr. Mathieu. “We have already set aside a budget for the next five years for the maintenance of the building.”

“Consultations on the maternity ward started on September 21,” he continues. “It was very beautiful and the women were really happy. There were 35 women for the first consultations. Motherhood will be a great blessing to these women. I said that the first woman to give birth to her child will call him Anthony in honour of St. Anthony of Padua!”

“Dear contributors and readers of the Messenger of Saint Anthony,” concludes Fr. Mathieu. “Thank you for your collaboration and support. We count on you always. May God bless you!”



Updated on February 28 2022