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Senegal: maternity facility opens in Casamance

22-06-2011 News Release 11/140

Ziguinchor (ICRC) – Women in the Fogny area, a part of Casamance that has been hard hit by armed violence, can now benefit from quality medical care in a brand new maternity facility which has just been inaugurated in the village of Diamaye Inor.

"Until now, there was nothing but a basic sheet-metal shelter set up for childbirth," said Salif Sagna, a nurse from the village. "It was very difficult for the women. With this new facility, women in Diamaye Inor and 12 neighbouring villages, with a total population of over 2,100, will finally be able to give birth in good conditions."

"The conflict in Casamance has made it difficult for health services to reach certain parts of Fogny," said Sophie Orr, deputy head of the regional delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Dakar. "Many women die of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth."

Working in close cooperation with the Bignona medical district, the ICRC helped build and equip the Diamaye Inor maternity facility. The aim was to improve access to primary health care for the local people and to offer them care of the same quality that is available in the rest of Senegal. The training of a midwife for the facility was fully funded by the ICRC.

The village community decided to name the new facility for an ICRC delegate, Jeanie Fournier, who was killed by a landmine in Casamance in 2006. "The facility was named after her to perpetuate her memory," said Ms Sagna. "It pays tribute to her commitment by giving the women of Casamance better access to health care."

The ICRC has been working in Casamance since 2004. It responds to the needs of conflict-afflicted people by conducting such activities as visiting those detained in connection with the conflict and taking steps to enhance protection for the civilian population. In addition, it helps the neediest by distributing emergency aid, improving access to water and promoting economic security.

For further information, please contact:
Lazar Sagna, ICRC Ziguinchor, tel: +221 77 578 84 96
Wolde-Gabriel Saugeron, ICRC Dakar, tel: +221 77 529 71 45