Even in the 21st century, health remains a luxury within rural communities where the lack of access to clean water and basic medication, along with inappropriate hygiene conditions are the daily lot for many populations.
At a time when medicine and pharmacology have made impressive strides, more than 3 billion people are left out of this health revolution.
Improving health cover is a must in order to break the poverty cycle. Failures in the health system due to bad infrastructure, lack of health care workers, lack of material or medication, the deplorable conditions in which many rural people live are common elements seen in communities in which FH is involved (Burundi, Cambodia, RD Congo, Uganda, Rwanda.)
Populations in these countries have to face up to the ravages of malaria, malnutrition, AIDS, etc. Levels of mortality and infection are amongst the highest in the world. Water is the key source of any epidemic.
It is also noteworthy that these countries do not have any social security or medical insurance schemes in place. Progress has been made in vaccination coverage and in primary health care, in the fight against transmittable diseases, in reducing respiratory infections caused by the environment, in getting rid of refuse, but all are parameters to be considered in working out sustainable development in terms of the physical and moral well-being of rural communities.
To get good agricultural production you have to be in good health! For this reason, in its food security for everyone programme, FH integrates a health element.
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Goals of our health projects:
- Facilitate access to clean water
- Facilitate access to health care
- Fight malaria and other diseases
- Prevent pathological problems caused by the environmental
- Reinforce protection of children and pregnant women
- Sensitise the population about STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), HIV/AIDS; facilitate access to therapy
- Make normal practice of hygiene (training in prevention of disease) and environmental protection.
Through the partnerships set up by FH with different medical centres, families have access to health care.
Awareness campaigns and training sessions, mostly with women, favoured the acquisition of new hygiene habits: keeping the family home clean, 20-26% of families (2011) use toilets as compared to 3-8% (2008). These figures are visible indicators that transformation has happened within the population. New wells eliminate illnesses carried by water. For those who do not have access to well water, boiling their water has become a normal occurrence. 76% were doing it in 2011 compared to 25% in 2008.
Free vaccination campaigns against polio for children of 0-5 years and for pregnant women are carried out each year. Within communities, distribution of treated mosquito nets has meant that the level of infant mortality due to malaria has dropped. 95% of children get treatment against worms; this helps to reduce cases of diarrhoea.
Developing systems to help those affected by HIV/AIDS, increasing their level of medical and psychological care favours reintegration, not only into society through income generating activities but also into their respective families. This helps rebuild the fabric of family life.