Through a partnership with the government of Burkina Faso, The Carter Center has helped the nation fight disease and build hope through agricultural development and disease eradication projects.
The Carter Center's Guinea Worm Eradication Program began assisting Burkina Faso when the national program began in 1992. The country reported its last case of Guinea worm disease in November 2006.
In 1992, the Carter Center's Guinea Worm Eradication Program began working with the government of Burkina Faso and other international organizations to eliminate Guinea worm disease from the more than 600 endemic communities in that country.
To wipe out the disease, Burkina Faso faced several major obstacles: the inaccessibility of certain endemic villages due to poor road conditions during the rainy season, which also was peak transmission season for Guinea worm disease; the need to provide safe water to certain populations who might not otherwise be able to acquire it; and the mobilization of communities to contain and report all cases of the disease.
Approaches to prevent and eradicate Guinea worm disease in Burkinabe communities included health education; distribution of nylon filters used to strain out the microscopic organisms hosting the larvae; monthly ABATE® larvicide (donated by BASF Corporation) treatments of stagnant ponds; direct advocacy with water organizations; and increased efforts to build safer hand-dug wells. Village volunteers, who were trained, supplied, and supervised by the program, carried out monthly surveillance and interventions.
Despite major obstacles such as imported cases from countries including Mali, Ghana, and Cote d'Ivoire, the country reported its last case of Guinea worm disease in Tondia-Kangue village in November 2006. The World Health Organization certified Burkina Faso free of the diesease in 2011.
Working with the Burkina Faso Ministry of Agriculture, The Carter Center began helping Burkinabe farmers improve agricultural development in 1997. The program was part of a larger partnership, led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Norman Borlaug, between The Carter Center's Agriculture Program and the Sasakawa Africa Association. The program helped more than 8 million small-scale sub-Saharan African farmers learn new farming techniques to double or triple grain production.
Erratic rainfall, soil degradation, and population pressures made development of good harvests difficult in Burkina Faso's dry climate. To address the farmers' needs, The Carter Center and the Burkina Faso Ministry of Agriculture instituted a program that allowed farmers to experiment with new types of crops, fertilizers, or planting methods to better cultivate and diversify their farms. Following successful harvests, farmers taught their neighbors about these new technologies, creating a ripple effect to stimulate food self-sufficiency in the nation.
Since improving agricultural development was only half the battle, the program helped identify less costly, more efficient local markets for the farmers to sell their surplus crops. It also developed projects focused on post-harvest technologies, including methods for processing and storing,and encouraged neighboring countries in the program to foster lasting cooperative efforts.
The Carter Center ended its agricultural activities in Burkina Faso in 2005.
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Size: 274,200 square kilometers
Population below poverty line: 47 percent
Life expectancy: 55 years
Ethnic groups: Mossi, Gurunsi; Senufo; Lobi; Bobo; Mande; Fulani
Religions: Muslim, Catholic, animist, Protestant, other, none
Languages: French (official), native African languages belonging to Sudanic family spoken by 90% of the population
Source: U.S. Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook 2015