Health in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso (former Upper Volta) means land (or country) of “upright people” as literally translated from two of the local languages (Mooré and Dioula). It is a landlocked, francophone country situated in the middle of West Africa. It is surrounded by Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Benin and Togo in the South, by Mali in the North-west and by Niger in the North-eastern part. In 2012, the average life expectancy was estimated at 57 for male and 59 for female. The under five mortality rate and the infant mortality rate were respectively 102 and 66 per 1000 live births.[1] In 2014, the median age of its inhabitants is 17 and the estimated population growth rate is 3.05%.[2] In 2011, health expenditures was 6.5% of GDP; the maternal mortality ratio was estimated at 300 deaths per 100000 live births and the physician density at 0.05/1000 population in 2010. In 2012, it was estimated that the adult HIV prevalence rate (ages 15–49) was 1.0%.[3] According to the 2011 UNAIDS Report, HIV prevalence is declining among pregnant women who attend antenatal clinics.[4] According to a 2005 World Health Organization report, an estimated 72.5% of Burkina Faso's girls and women have suffered female genital mutilation, administered according to traditional rituals.[5]

The government of Burkina Faso took on the project of improving the quality of health services by upgrading facilities and skills, achieving control of endemic parasitic diseases, and strengthening sector institutions. Total health care expenditures were an estimated 4.1% of GDP. Central government spending on health was 3% in 2001.[6]

Current statistics

Statistics for Burkina Faso in 2012.[1]

Total population (2012) 16,460,000
Gross national income per capita (PPP international $, 2012) 1,490
Life expectancy at birth m/f (years, 2012) 57/59
Under five mortality rate (per 1 000 live births, 2012) 102
Infant/under one mortality rate (per 1 000 live births, 2012) 66
Neonatal mortality rate (per 1 000 live births, 2012) 28
Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years m/f (per 1 000 population, 2012) 301/259
Total expenditure on health per capita (Intl $, 2012) 90
Total expenditure on health as % of GDP (2012) 6.2

Health system


Trucks being donated to Upper Volta in 1969 as part of the global smallpox eradication campaign.

The three level pyramidal health system

Health System in Burkina Faso

The Organization of the peripheral level

Health care

In 2004, it was estimated that there were as few as 6 physicians per 100,000 people.[9] In addition there were only 41 nurses, and 13 midwives per 100,000 people.[9] However, the hospital at Ouagadougou is one of the most modern in Africa. Medical centers at Bobo-Dioulasso carry on research on insect-borne diseases. Mobile medical units attempt to control leprosy, sleeping sickness, yellow fever, and other contagious diseases.

Health status

Life Expectancy

Average life expectancy at birth in 2008 was estimated at 52 for females and 51 for males.[10] In 2007 1.6% of people 15-49 have HIV/AIDS. The mortality rate from HIV/AIDS in 2007 was 62 per 100,000. According to the World Health Organization in 2006 an estimated 72.5% of Burkina Faso's girls and women have suffered female genital mutilation.[11]

Endemic Diseases

One of Burkina Faso’s most serious health problems is onchocerciasis (river blindness), which touches 84% of the total land area and causes many thousands of people to desert settlements infected by the fly vector. A control program has had some success. About two-thirds of Burkina Faso residents have access to safe water. In early 1997, a meningitis epidemic in West Africa spread to Burkina Faso, resulting in 724 deaths out of 5,571 cases.

Maternal and Child Healthcare

The 2010 maternal mortality rate per 100,000 births for Burkina Faso was 560. This is compared with 332.4 in 2008 and 487.5 in 1990. The under 5 mortality rate, per 1,000 births was 169 and the neonatal mortality as a percentage of under 5's mortality was 22. In Burkina Faso the number of midwives per 1,000 live births was 5 and the lifetime risk of death for pregnant women was 1 in 28.[12]

The incidence of low-birth weight babies was 21% in 1993–96. In 2000, only 12% of married women (ages 15 to 49) used contraception. In 1999, Burkina Faso immunized children up to one year old as follows: diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 42% and measles, 53%. The fertility rate per woman was 6.6 in 2004.[9]

See also

External links


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