- a West African rural village of 5500 inhabitants - Today we present an exceptional contribution to our newsletter:

1) exceptional for the high quality of the centre - its remote location

2) far from other health care services :

the long standing collaboration between the President of SEDELAN Maurice Oudet and the originator of the project, Birgitta Amoroso, retired official of the European Commission, volunteer in Burkina Faso and colleague of SEDELAN.

For over 10 years she has translated all newsletters published in our weekly newsletter abcburkina.net into English, putting her long professional experience at our service. She has now completed the construction of a primary health care centre for Ladiou, as a tribute to the local population, adding a touch of her past Here is her opening address from the official inauguration

produisons ce que nous consommonsBack in 1984 the President of Burkina Faso Thomas Sankara declared:

• for every village a school

• for every village a patch of woodland

• for every village a health care centre

For the past 15 years the village of Ladiou has regularly been sending a demand to the Ministry of Health for the setting up of a primary health care centre. The reply has remained the same: “The Ministry appreciates your concern the for the health of the inhabitants of Ladiou. Due to budget limitations, we are unable at present to provide the necessary funds to meet your request“ .

15 years … .


birgittaWelcome to the official inauguration today of our CSPS.

Centre for primary health care and social development. Contrary to tradition - and courtesy you would say- I wish to start my talk by greeting all participants at the base of the pyramid, my natural habitat : the men and the women with whom this centre has been built. Today is the day of this village.

• I welcome all the village men, Martin, Alain, Boureima, Dieudonné, Moussa, Salif and the many many others. By the mere strength of their arms they have manually pressed the nearly 30 000 bricks of sand, water and a small addition of cement, required for our buildings.

port d'eau• I welcome all the village women, Bintou, Julienne, Marie, Léontine, Pauline, Fatimata - these are only a few - who all the way through these years have carried on their heads hundreds and hundreds of 30 litre buckets of water and sand to the construction site

• My greetings also to Father Maurice Oudet of Koudougou who for many years took me along on his long travels across Burkina and let me get to know this country, its peasant farmers and herders , its rice growers and cotton producers, its Fulani communities, village literacy courses, mini dairies. It was Father Maurice who helped me find a village in urgent need of water and a well,

where I could finally turn the project of my teenage years into reality. It was also he who accompanied me to Ladiou the first time in 2008.

• My welcome also to Alice Valea of OCADES, county coordinator in charge of all its mother and child health care centres. She has provided us with moral and material support over the years ;

• And my thanks to those who have encouraged us from near and far, my friends and colleagues of Koudougou, in France and Italy and my family in Sweden . Little by little the various units have been created:

• a 42m drilled well

• a new building for CREN (nutritional recovery of underweight children and education of their mothers)

• a multipurpose open air outbuilding of 80m2

• a primary health care unit (dispensary)

• a pharmacy •

•3 verandas, one of 18m2 with a floor of flagstones of recycled plastic

• a toxic waste incinerator

• 3 lodgings for resident staff

• a kitchen annex

• solar panels on all 3 buildings

prètre et brigittaWith these the Government’s standard requirements have been fulfilled which has earned us official recognition as a full primary health care centre and an Agreement of Cooperation between the Government and the Diocese has been concluded.

Thus we are honoured to see here today

• Abbot Frédéric Compaoré, personal representative of the bishop of the Diocese, Monsignor Joachim Ouédraogo

• Abbots Jean-Marie, Nicolas, Pascal, Philippe and their colleagues • Dr Barro, Chief District Medical Officer

• The Prefect

• The Mayor of Didyr • The Vicar of Didyr

• the teaching staff of Ladiou primary school

• the head nurses of other centers of the district

JI thank you all for having struggled through the 13 km long and treacherous savannah track to join us.

petrir la briqueOur own path has indeed been a long and laborious struggle (a bit like travelling this same way during the rainy season), problems of supplies, shortage of sand !! - no welder, plumber, carpenter in sight within 20 kms, break downs, delays, funerals of near and distant relatives, many many funerals…

But never a single accident on the building site.

Our most recent construction is the maternity building. I am deeply relieved by the fact that from now on no woman of this village will have to brave the muddy footpaths during the rainy season June to October and struggle to arrive and give birth at the “nearest” maternity unit. The law states that no inhabitant of Burkina shall be farther away than 7 kilometres from the nearest health care centre. Kilometres ! A word of scarce comfort to any woman perched behind her husband on his bike, when she is at 2 minutes between contractions … For her it is a matter of minutes to her final destination. But sometimes it is hours and sometimes she cannot get there in time.…

Ladiou now finally has its own maternity facility.

In the first few months there have been nearly 42 births,

However, Maternity is only one half of a new life. The other half is Paternity. And now I turn to you all, present and future husbands and fathers. I would like send out to all an important, serious and vital reminder:

For every child that you bring into this world - YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE

You have the duty to ensure for each one of your children

• food

• education

• health care

• love

• It is not enough for you to give each of your newborn a beautiful name like Dieudonné or Bienvenu (Godgiven, Welcome).

• Good wishes do not cost anything. La réalité par contre a un prix : Whereas reality has a price. You owe all of them a decent life. I would like to hammer this principle deep into every head, as much and as long as it takes driving a nail into a concrete wall .


Our family planning office at the Maternity unit is open to all of you, men and women. Our globe is running out of space for us all, the human predators that we are. Burkina is a landlocked country, now with its 20 million inhabitants (xx in 2006). “Anyone with a 200 m2 plot of land will not starve” said - in 2008 - Dominique Bassolé, agronomist-economist, colleague and friend from my time at OXFAM in Ouagadougu..

True - but you have to find that land.

Last week I discussed with Salif Ouédraogo, Head of the Institute for Rural Development at Nazi Boni University in Bobo Dioulasso. He told me: “Future conflict in Burkina will not solely occur between jihadists and the population, or between peasant farmers and herders, but between farmers and farmers. Sufficient land is no longer available for the young generation, not even those who really wish to stay in their village and earn their living in agriculture.THE WAR FOR ARABLE LAND IS A CONFLICT WAITING TO HAPPEN

* * * * *

My ambition with this CSPS project has been to create a structure which is

• useful

• environmentally sound

• pleasant

• made of local material

•with local manpower

• My ambition was not just to do something for this village, but with the village. To share the work with all and then the pride - and the responsibility - for the accomplished task . Participation has not always come easily and quickly, but finally we made it, the centre stands before us. Now it is vital to ensure its maintenance. The better you take care of your CSPS, the better the CSPS can to take care of you.

However …. ATTENTION! We may create beautiful centres, buildings of stone or marble or gold … That is only the façade. The important part lies inside, the the quality of service provided.

At school or in hospital, in government or in the bank - it is the competence of its staff that counts, professional skills, dedication and passion for the work at hand.

That is why I would like to demand of the authorities of the Diocese and the Government to fully exercise their right - I would even say their duty - to supervise the quality of services and equipment.

I would also request

• that a mentor be assigned to professional newcomers

• that a two week training period a year at an urban hospital be organised

• that carrier development prospects and remuneration are in place

• that transparency in the financial management is guaranteed

On this basis this newborn centre should become not merely your village CSPS, but a good CSPS yes why not an


I wish to add a small personal touch to my years here. And at the same time to honour the memory of my parents. I have grown up and spent all my young years living side by side with hospitals. All my family has worked in health care. My father was a doctor and later in his career Head of the hospital in a city in northern Sweden.

After school I had an unexpected opportunity to spend a year in the United States and study and work there. An American doctor (a gynaecologist) once lashed out at me: “Ah, so your father is also a doctor. What does he specialise in?”

I could have told this condescending member of the medical profession ( dead against “socialised medicine” ) : “he specialises in his patients”.

My father was a general surgeon, he was called upon to treat nearly every part of the human body. And he did.

He was a good doctor. It is not just my words, but has been said many many times, by his patients and colleagues. He had a holistic view of medical care. I had many opportunities to follow him at work, forcibly recruited by the matron as an aide while regular hospital workers were on summer holidays. In the operating theatre and on his daily rounds through the wards, file in hand, he would address patients by their name, ask how they were feeling and only then look into the status of their ailing body. The human person first. His dignity. Then the pathology.

That is the spirit that he instilled in us, his daughters and sons and that is the approach I would like to implant in this CSPS as well.

There is one person I have not yet mentioned. Because she is not only at the base of the pyramid and not only at the top, but her work runs through the entire edifice. She has even laid the foundations.

senssibilisationColette Bazié has governed the first nucleus of this CSPS, the CREN mother and child care centre, as a volunteer for over 35 years. Since I arrived here long ago I have been following her work for months and years. I was impressed right from the start. She managed to receive and check 40, 60 even 80 children a day (weight, height, growth rate), and consult with their mothers, at times even on Sundays. Here mothers and children would find a friendly atmosphere, an attentive ear and gentle hands. Colette Bazie has achieved a 95% recovery rate in treating children with moderate malnutrition and 85% of the severe cases.

She also impressed me by her teaching, starting each working day by a lecture, “the talk” for all the assembled women, on various important subjects, such as hygiene, weaning, malaria, dangerous practices (grandmother cures ..) social problems. She has organised cooking demonstrations on the preparation of porridge of enriched cereals. She has been out into the communities to spread her message. She has called on husbands to investigate conditions in households with underweight children.

She has made a name for the CREN far beyond the district boundaries. Women have travelled long distances by bike with their child to come and consult.

She has compiled alone all the various monthly and annual statistics (on the distribution of powdered milk for example, stating the reasons for every particular allowance - mother’s, mastitis, mental illness , death in childbirth only to mention a few). long and tedious toil and late nights.

All through her 35 years she has been a volunteer. Volunteer with a very capital “V”.

She has ruled with calm and friendly authority. Over the years at her side I have never seen a conflict occur in the CREN.

LADIOU jAN 2011 (4) 2During her long years of service . there has never been a death of a child in treatment.

Furthermore she has attended numerous seminars and training courses in the city and in the capital Ouagadougou, often on complex subjects at a scientific level.

All this to tell you that it is the work of Colette Bazié and the explicit demand by the villagers that spurred my determination to develop her mother and child care unit into the full scale CSPS which we see here today. I therefore strongly appeal to the Diocese high authorities to recognise the importance of her achievement and ensure her a fair and just remuneration, so that she can face the remainder of her years of service and life with serenity.

I believe that that it is your duty

Long live the CSPS of Ladiou

Best wishes to the its staff

Good health to the children, women and men of Ladiou


Ladiou, February 16 2019

Birgitta Amoroso

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