In early January 2019, violent clashes in Yirgou in the north of Burkina Faso forced thousands of people to flee. The violence, involving both communal and religious armed groups, quickly escalated. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams, who were already in the Sahel region to support emergency rooms and operating theatres in the medical facilities of Gorom-Gorom and Djibo, rapidly responded in Barsalogho and Foubé in central Burkina Faso, providing basic healthcare for host communities and displaced people.
According to the authorities, close to 100 health centres had to cease activities altogether and many more could only function at reduced capacity. Increasing insecurity made it hard for remote communities to access the remaining health services in towns, and for humanitarian organisations to reach those in need.
Despite security challenges, our teams had scaled up assistance by mid-2019, and started medical activities and water trucking in Titao and Ouindigui in the Nord region, as well as in Fada-Ngourma, Matiakoali and Gayéri in the east of the country.
At the end of the year, teams were deployed to the four most conflict-affected regions to provide basic healthcare, shelter and relief items such as jerrycans, soap and mosquito nets to local communities and displaced people. We rehabilitated water pumps, dug boreholes and trucked in more than 8.3 million litres of drinking water.
In the capital, Ouagadougou, we continued to run a dengue fever project, which assists with surveillance, staff training and preparedness in the event of a new outbreak.