Burkina Faso: Growing Violence Threatens Health Care
Away from the worlds attention, Burkina Faso has been slipping into violence. In less than a year, t..
Away from the worlds attention, Burkina Faso has been slipping into violence. In less than a year, the number of displaced has increased fivefold, from 50,000 last December, to 270,000 in August. As ever, the most vulnerable suffer most: the very young, and the very old.
When Alidou Sawadogos elderly mother fell ill, he faced a long and dangerous journey to get treatment for her.
“When she collapsed, a friend called me,” he explains. “By the time I arrived she was already unconscious. I decided to take her to the health center and luckily someone who had a motorcycle helped me. Because of the violence many people who are sick wait at home and die. Everyone is afraid of taking the road to the health center in Barsalogho.”
Across Burkina Faso, the rising insecurity has forced over a hundred health centers to close, or to limit their work. Half a million people now have little or no access to health care. Dedicated health workers, among them Dr Bertrand Dibli in Barsalogho, are struggling to meet the needs, and to stay safe themselves.
“This is one of the few health centers that isnt closed,” he says. “We dont have enough equipment. And the insecurity has caused huge anxiety among health workers. Even coming here to Barsalogho is a huge challenge because the route is so dangerous.”
The ICRC has been working to support Burkina Fasos health professionals, with medical kits, and vaccination campaigns. During his visit to the country, ICRC President Peter Maurer expressed his concern at the multiple challenges facing Burkina Fasos people.
“We are very concerned,” he said. “Very worried about the upsurge in violence, its a vicious circle that is trapping the civilian population between armed groups.”
“We also see,” Mr Maurer added, “that it is not only the violence that is affecting the country, it is also under development, and climate change. Together with the violence that is obstructing the health services, its an accumulation of factors.”
And so the ICRC – jointly with the Burkinabé Red Cross – is also delivering food to the displaced, and helping to improve access to water supplies. All of this, says nurse Jeanette Kientega, is desperately needed by a population uprooted by conflict, and denied access to basic health care.
“By the time they are able to get here, it is often too late” she says. “Sometimes we can help, but if they have already been ill a long time, it is difficult. We try to do what we can.”
Expectant mothers, new mothers, and the newborn are a priority. Salamata Oueadraogo made it to the health center in time to get the care she and her baby needed.
“The other health centers were closed, so I came here so I could be taken care of when the baby came. And, thank God, I was able to have my baby safely, here.”
Hopefully, with the support of Burkina Fasos dedicated health workers, other mothers and babies will get the same lifesaving care. But for Burkina Fasos people to enjoy real safety, health services and their staff must be respected.
KEY FACTS: ICRC in cooperation with the Burkinabé Red Cross
- Health: The ICRC has provided medical kits to health facilities in the Sahel, East and North regions, benefitting more than 21,000 people. We also supported a vaccination campaign for children (measles, meningitis) and support health centers.
- Food: From January to June 2019, the ICRC has assisted 22,000 internally displaced people with food in violence-affected regions.
- Water: The ICRC rehabilitates water points and drills boreholes to improve peoples access to water. More than 7,800 people have benefitted.
- Livelihoods: The vaccination of 68,000 heads of cattle was also organized early this year to support the main means of survival of many violence-affected people.
How to get a good night’s sleep?
- Stick to a consistent sleep schedule
The first step to getting a good night’s sleep is to establish a consistent sleep schedule. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine
Create a bedtime routine that relaxes you and prepares your mind and body for sleep. This may include taking a warm bath, reading a book, practicing meditation or deep breathing exercises, or listening to calming music. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s a quiet, relaxing activity that helps you wind down from the day’s stresses.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol intake
Caffeine and alcohol can disrupt your sleep, so it’s best to avoid them altogether, especially close to bedtime. Caffeine is a stimulant that can keep you awake and alert, while alcohol can disrupt your natural sleep cycle, leading to fragmented and less restful sleep.
- Create a comfortable sleep environment
Your sleep environment plays a significant role in the quality of your sleep. Make sure your bedroom is cool, quiet, and dark. Use curtains or blinds to block out light, invest in comfortable pillows and bedding, and consider using a white noise machine to drown out any outside noise.
- Avoid screens before bedtime
The blue light emitted by electronic devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops can suppress melatonin production, making it harder to fall asleep. Avoid using electronic devices for at least an hour before bedtime, and consider using blue light filters or special glasses that block blue light if you must use them.
- Get regular exercise
Regular exercise can improve the quality of your sleep, but it’s best to avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day, such as brisk walking, jogging, or cycling.
- Manage stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Consider practicing relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises to help manage stress and anxiety. You may also find it helpful to keep a journal or talk to a therapist to work through any underlying emotional issues.
- Avoid eating heavy meals close to bedtime
Eating heavy or spicy meals close to bedtime can disrupt your sleep and cause discomfort. It’s best to eat a light, balanced meal at least two to three hours before bedtime.
In conclusion, getting a good night’s sleep is essential for your overall health and well-being. By establishing a consistent sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, creating a comfortable sleep environment, avoiding screens before bedtime, getting regular exercise, managing stress and anxiety, and avoiding heavy meals close to bedtime, you can improve the quality of your sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and energized. If you continue to struggle with sleep despite trying these tips, consider talking to your healthcare provider to rule out any underlying sleep disorders or medical conditions.
What are some tips for staying healthy during the winter?
- Eat a balanced diet
Eating a healthy diet is always important, but it’s especially important during the winter. Eating a diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help you get the nutrients your body needs to fight off illness. In addition, foods that are high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, can help boost your immune system.
- Stay hydrated
During the winter months, it can be easy to forget to drink enough water. However, staying hydrated is important for maintaining good health. Drinking water can help keep your body hydrated and flush out toxins that can make you sick. Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
- Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep is essential for staying healthy. During the winter months, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough rest to help your body fight off illness. Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
- Exercise regularly
Regular exercise can help boost your immune system, improve your mood, and increase your energy levels. During the winter months, it can be tempting to skip your workout due to the cold weather. However, even a short walk or workout can help you stay healthy.
- Wash your hands regularly
Washing your hands regularly is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. During the winter months, when cold and flu viruses are more prevalent, it’s especially important to wash your hands frequently.
- Stay warm
Staying warm is important for maintaining good health during the winter months. Dress in layers and wear warm clothing when you’re outside. If you’re cold at home, turn up the heat or use a space heater to keep warm.
- Get a flu shot
Getting a flu shot is one of the best ways to prevent getting the flu. The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone over the age of six months, and it’s especially important for those who are at high risk of developing complications from the flu.
- Manage stress
Stress can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to illness. During the winter months, it’s important to take steps to manage your stress levels. Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.
- Stay connected
Staying connected with family and friends can help you stay healthy during the winter months. Social isolation can increase the risk of depression and other health problems. Make an effort to stay connected with loved ones, even if it’s just a phone call or video chat.
- Take care of your mental health
The winter months can be challenging for many people, particularly those who struggle with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). If you’re feeling down, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Talk to your doctor or a mental health professional about your symptoms.
In conclusion, staying healthy during the winter months requires a combination of good nutrition, regular exercise, adequate rest, and stress management. By following these tips, you can reduce your risk of getting sick and enjoy the winter season to the fullest.
Do sleeping patterns relate to mental health?
Sleeping patterns play a crucial role in our overall health and well-being, including our mental health. A good night’s sleep is essential for maintaining physical and mental health, as well as for improving our mood, productivity, and cognitive function. However, disrupted sleeping patterns, such as insomnia or sleep apnea, can have negative effects on our mental health, leading to feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress.
Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can negatively impact mental health by altering the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. These neurotransmitters play a crucial role in regulating our mood, emotions, and behavior. For example, a lack of sleep can lower the levels of serotonin, which is responsible for regulating mood, and increase the levels of cortisol, which is associated with stress. This can result in feelings of anxiety, depression, and irritability.
Moreover, disrupted sleeping patterns can interfere with the normal functioning of the brain, leading to decreased cognitive function and poor memory recall. This can have a significant impact on a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks and make decisions, leading to decreased confidence and self-esteem. The resulting stress and anxiety can further exacerbate the problems, creating a vicious cycle that is difficult to break.
In addition to the impact on mental health, disrupted sleeping patterns can also contribute to physical health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and decreased immunity. These physical health problems can further exacerbate the negative effects on mental health, creating a vicious cycle that is difficult to break.
Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to improve sleeping patterns and protect mental health. Establishing a consistent sleep routine is essential for maintaining good sleep hygiene. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, regardless of the day of the week. Creating a relaxing bedtime routine, such as reading a book or listening to soothing music, can also help promote a good night’s sleep.
Additionally, creating a sleep-friendly environment can also help improve sleep quality. This includes keeping the bedroom dark, quiet, and cool, as well as limiting exposure to screens, such as televisions and smartphones, before bedtime.
Finally, it is essential to address any underlying mental health problems that may be contributing to disrupted sleeping patterns. For example, depression and anxiety are common causes of insomnia and can often be treated with therapy or medication. Similarly, sleep apnea can be treated with lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and sleeping on your side, or with the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.
In conclusion, sleeping patterns are a crucial aspect of our mental health and well-being. Disrupted sleeping patterns, such as insomnia or sleep apnea, can have negative effects on our mental health, leading to feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress. However, by establishing a consistent sleep routine, creating a sleep-friendly environment, and addressing underlying mental health problems, we can improve our sleep quality and protect our mental health.
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