Water Crisis in Senegal | Mental Health | Millennium Development Goals

Senegal: SDE assures residents of normal water supply soon

(Photo: worldvision.org) July 5, 2011 Residents of several districts of the Senegalese capital have been experiencing water shortage for some days now, a situation described as very difficult during this hot season. The Senegal Water Company (SDE) has put the problem on equipment breakdown in the north of the country due to heavy rains last weekend. It said there is a power circuit breakdown in the drilling system. These installations supply 60 percent of the water Dakar needs, according to Sheik Tidiane Fall, SDE Communications Director. “The shortage was triggered by the heavy rainstorm that fell around Louga in Northern Senegal,” said Mr Tidiane Fall, adding “This storm started a short circuit. “We have several strategic boreholes in that area and a very important water treatment plant by the lake nearby, so all those installations came to a standstill from 21.00pm to 5.00am. He said the water company was working on getting supplies back to normal in the districts hit by the shortage. “Our crisis committee has been working non-stop to run our distribution system, we even used water trucks to supply severely hit districts.” Meanwhile, residents of the affected areas have expressed their dissatisfaction over the water shortage. Some told WADR that they have to wake up very early in the morning just to fetch a little water from their taps, while others say they walk long distances to get this precious liquid.

com/stories/201309150401. but is working to fix the problem.Senegal: Water Woes Continue for Senegalese By Alpha Jallow. which poses potential health problems. Last year during the same period. In Rufisque. a resident of Grande Yoff in the suburbs of Dakar. SDE to resolve the situation without delay. Percelle Assainis and Rufisque.html . We wake up early in the morning in search of water to other neighborhoods" said Isatou Diop. many residents have now turned to traditional wells to draw water. They shouted anti-Government slogans and called on the water company. The situation is yet to be resolved. many districts in the capital experienced a similar problem for almost a week. leading people to protest on Saturday. In Grande Yoff. The most affected areas are Grande Yoff. Residents who can't afford bottled water are forced to drawn water from a dug-out well. "The situation is worrying. But the wells also have a limited supply of water. 15 September 2013 Dakar — In several suburbs in the Senegalese capital Dakar people have been facing an acute shortage of tap water. How can we take care of our homes and children without portable water? I am not feeling well all these days but i have to company my kids in search of water. situated some 30km from Dakar. The state water company Sénégalaise Des Eaux (SDE) says it main supply pipe is broken. http://allafrica. women and children have to walk up to three kilometers to get drinking water.

social and religious backlash undermine the political will to defend gay rights in places like Senegal. “Before he [Sall] was elected. who heads an organization that aims to prevent HIV transmission among homosexuals. . Rwanda is also debating more about homosexuals’ rights. But fears of political. he pretended that he would resolve the issue socially.” continued DD. But even if the debate is not in our favour.” The Pew Global Attitudes Project found in a June study that 96 percent of Senegalese thinks homosexuality should not be accepted by society. 18 July 2013 (IRIN) . [their bodies] exhumed because of their sexual orientation. but now he has shown his true colours. people are prosecuted.” said Djamil Bangoura.US President Barack Obama’s recent call for equality for gays during his Africa tour drew assurances by his Senegalese counterpart that the country was not homophobic.” Among the 37 African countries where homosexuality is criminalized. bisexual. but if that is the truth. President Macky Sall told his guest that Senegal was not ready to decriminalize homosexuality. “No head of state is willing to commit [to defending gay rights] for fear of losing voters’ support or the support of marabous [traditional religious leaders] who have a huge political influence in the country. argued Ghoshal. said Aboubacry Mbodji. I’d like to know exactly what homophobia means to him. transgender and intersex people (LGBTI). “President Sall added that the country is not homophobic. Senegal is notorious for convicting and jailing gays. “A president cannot simply change the law.” Mbodji said. Political will While external pressure may have limited effectiveness in changing homophobic attitudes in Africa. It should take a bigger role in the debate. hounded. The responsibility of decriminalizing homosexuality rests upon the political class to influence the society. Yet dismantling anti-gay laws and attitudes carries huge political and religious risks few leaders in the continent are willing to take. “South Africa and Brazil have taken the lead in certain UN resolutions on LGBTI rights. we are at least talking about it. which is punishable under the country’s laws by up to five years imprisonment or fines between US$200 and $3. “In Senegal. gay. “This shows that it is no longer Africa against the West.” she said. who heads an organization for Senegalese lesbian. “President Obama’s visit made us understand the president’s [Sall] position about decriminalizing homosexuality.Political cost of defending gay rights in Africa DAKAR. the secretary general of the African Rally for Human Rights (RADDHO). Ghoshal said.” Human Rights Watch LGBTI researcher Neela Ghoshal told IRIN.000.” said a Senegalese activist who preferred to be identified as DD. rights groups say. but he can explain to the citizens the obligation to respect and ratify international human rights treaties.

Others [are like Zimbabwe’s] President Mugabe. which says that HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Senegal is 21 percent while the national prevalence is about 1 percent. leaving rights issues to a handful of local and international activists. said DD. “Changing mentalit[ies] is a protracted struggle. some recently radicalized people . A Senegalese should stand and declare that ‘I am a homosexual’. “The right to live” Senegalese NGOs involved with LGBTI limit their activities to health matters. acceptance of LGBTI people took several years.” Mbodji says.” But the fact that there is debate at all on a topic that was considered taboo a few years ago indicates there has been some progress. homosexuality is tolerated. In Malawi.are at loggerheads with moderate religious brotherhood and urge for the lynching of homosexuals. who likes to exploit the issue during national crises to deflect attention.” “All depend on the mentality of the political leadership. contends IGLHRC. noting that other countries are more lenient. “Moreover it is not about legalizing marriage or adoption by gay couples. President Joyce Banda failed to hold on to a pledge to open debate about gay rights once she took power. for instance. more complicate[d] than a simple decriminalization [of homosexuality]. “In Morocco. He also explained that anti-gay bills in Nigeria and Uganda have fuelled an intense debate between rights activists and religious fundamentalists. Some leaders prefer just to govern and not touch on this [gay rights] debate. In the West.” Certain interpretations of the Koran have added to the anti-gay laws. http://www.” DD said.extremist marabous .org/report/98436/political-cost-of-defending-gay-rights-in-africa . the Africa programme coordinator at International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC). that it originated from the West. an Islamic and a very religious country. even if it’s just by allowing gay bars.” said Damian Ugwu. according to RADDHO. but simply having the right to live. largely because discrimination against homosexuals hinders their access to health services. and even the recent legal reforms in France and the US did not stop certain groups of people from protesting. said Ugwu. There are public health consequences.“In Senegal. “It takes time for changes to happen. “People tend to think that homosexuality does not exist in the country. Many homosexuals live in hiding for fear of the law.irinnews. said Bangoura.

Meanwhile." says Sheila Ndyanabangi. a psychiatrist on the WHO International Expert Panel on Mental Health and Substance Abuse and director of the expert coalition Movement for Global Mental Health. As it stands. so the NGOs continue to rely on scraping together funds to be able to respond" Yet it also acknowledges that they have done little to reach the world's most vulnerable. and are also affecting the performance of those other programmes like HIV and the rest. "They need also to remember these unfunded priorities like mental health are cross-cutting. health experts are gathering evidence across the continent to make a case for a greater focus on its millions of mentally ill. integrate awareness and prevention of mental health disorders. the world's biggest bilateral donor. both governments and donors will need to increase their focus on mental health issues. national economies are going to be bankrupted by the health budgets. which has specific targets for diseases like malaria and HIV. Experts say investing in mental health treatment for African countries would bolster development across the continent. and strengthen evidence-based research. The action plan outlines four broad targets.and middle-income countries. placing them higher on countries' agendas than other health issues. The report says the MDGs were "silent on the devastating effects of conflict and violence on development" and focused too heavily on individual programmes instead of collaborating between sectors. told IRIN. the MDGs have overseen the fastest reduction of poverty in human history. calling it a landmark step in addressing a staggering global disparity: The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 75-85 percent of people with severe mental disorders receive no treatment in low. resulting in a largely disjointed ." The post-MDG era According to a May report from the UN Secretary-General's High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. for member states to: update their policies and laws on mental health. compared to 35-50 percent in high-income countries. the US Agency for International Development (USAID). "Mental health hasn't found its way into the core programmes [in developing countries]. so the NGOs continue to rely on scraping together funds to be able to respond. 2 September 2013 (IRIN) ." Global experts celebrated the passing of a World Health Assembly action plan on World Mental Health Day in May.As African countries strive to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 and plot a new development agenda thereafter. "Unless we collectively do something much more effective about NCDs [non-communicable diseases].Rethinking mental health in Africa KAMPALA. reproductive health. In order for the plan to be implemented. "Mental health hasn't found its way into the core programmes [in developing countries]. malaria. "Everyone is putting their money in HIV. director of mental health at Uganda's Ministry of Health. but national health priorities have been overtaken by the existing MDG structure. will only support mental health if it is under another MDG health priority such as HIV/AIDS." Harry Minas. mental health receives on average 1 percent of health budgets in sub-Saharan Africa despite the WHO estimate that it carries 13 percent of the global burden of disease. integrate mental health care into community-based settings.

monitored the impact of group counselling on vulnerable groups such as victims of sexual and domestic violence. The bill would update its colonial era Mental Treatment Act. NCDs will cost the global economy more than US$30 trillion by 2030." Poverty and mental illness In Africa. easing detection and diagnosis procedures. the study's lead researcher." Ethel Mpungu." Putting mental health on the agenda As mental health legislation is hard to come by in most African countries. "We need to be mentally healthy to get out of poverty. Experts say without a more holistic approach to global health in the new development era. PRIME . Neurological and Substance Use Services. researchers in northern Uganda . Uganda is ahead of most on the continent with its comprehensive National Policy on Mental. "We've gone beyond that. which has not been revised since 1964.and middle-income countries can successfully provide mental health services at a lower cost through. and bring the country in line with international standards. According to a 2011 World Economic Forum report. Access to mental health services remains a key challenge in Africa "It really is around issues of development and economics ." said Minas. and now understand we're dealing with complex systems. the use of non- .was formed in 2011 to support the scale-up of mental health services in developing countries. HIV-infected populations. released earlier this month. "The MDGs were essentially a set of vertical programmes which were essentially in competition with each other for resources and for attention. Nepal and South Africa) leading the developing world on mental health care. among other strategies. and former abductees of the civil war. WHO sees opportunities to build better mental health care. creates unparalleled opportunities to transform mental health care for the long term. It found that those groups who engaged in group counselling were able to return and function markedly faster than those who did not receive counselling.those things can no longer be ignored. with mental health conditions alone costing an additional $16 trillion over the same time span. starting in the late 1980s suffered a two-decade long war between the government and the rebel Lords' Resistance Army ." says Minas.approach to health. while reducing their risks of developing long-term psychiatric conditions. India. where all of the important issues are very closely interrelated. but is still waiting to be reviewed by cabinet and be voted into law. Uganda is also part of a consortium of research institutions and health ministries (alongside Ethiopia. Research shows that low. where many countries are dealing with current or recent emergencies. focused attention on the mental health of the population. drafted in 2010. The link between mental illness and persisting poverty is being made the world over. In a study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders in July. and is currently running a series of pilot projects to measure their impact on primary healthcare systems in low-income settings. "They are now so clear that ministries of health all around the place are starting to think about how they are going to develop their mental health programmes.the programme for improving mental health care . told IRIN." say the authors of the report Building Back Better: Sustainable Mental Health Care after Emergencies. "The surge of aid [that usually follows an emergency]combined with sudden. the world's most vulnerable will only be trapped in that cycle.which.

org/report/98680/rethinking-mental-health-in-africa . "But if people don't care whether they live or die. co-founder of the Peter C. the scaling up of such initiatives is being hindered by a lack of investment.specialist health workers and the integration of mental healthcare into primary healthcare systems." http://www. which works with survivors of terrorism and mass violence. they're not going to be able to take advantage of these things that are offered. Although a number of projects have shown success in working with existing government structures to ultimately integrate mental health into primary health care. as the funding of African health systems is still largely seen through donor priorities. "Billions of philanthropic dollars are being spent on things like HIV/AIDS or water or malaria. which have been focused elsewhere.irinnews. Alderman Foundation (PCAF)." said Liz Alderman.

when three million people's homes were flooded and 1. according to a government statement released in early September. The extent of the flooding and related damage is far less than in 2012.396 in West Africa this year. Niger Niger is the most seriously affected country in the region. displaced 40. Food security experts fear harvest prospects will decline in affected areas. especially in and around the Gulf of Guinea. Ghana.Floods have killed 84 people. according to the Federation of Nigerien Market Gardeners' Cooperatives (FCMN). western Nigeria and Togo most affected.4 million people were displaced in Nigeria alone.West Africa flood round-up • • • • FEEDBACK EMAIL PRINT EASY READ SHARE Photo: Pierre Peron/OCHA This year's flooding less severe than in 2012 (file photo) DAKAR. western Mali and parts of southern Senegal have been the most affected.000 hectares of agricultural land has been damaged.000 gardeners and farmers who planted along the Niger River lost their harvests. While rainfall has been average to above average across much of the region. Liberia.000 people in need of humanitarian assistance. according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). According to the government.000 . some 3. with 75. while 34. In the capital.445 and affected 323. with Benin. 17 September 2013 (IRIN) . according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 70 wells across the country have collapsed or been submerged. and 13. there have been deficits in some areas. Niamey. Sierra Leone. Guinea.

000 hectares of land are thought to have been damaged. Thus far. Nigeria experienced its worst flooding in 40 years. Within hours all of our vegetables were flooded.924 people have been displaced and 81. 216 people have been displaced by floods and two killed. according to OCHA. According to NOAA. . among 33. including some that were built following extensive flooding in 2012. businesses or fields flooded. The government eased tensions by pumping water from the area. the International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) are responding to the needs of flood-affected people. "We watched the river water rise quickly. high water levels at the Kainji.irrigation ditches and dykes have been destroyed. with 1. Zamfara. "The magnitude of the floods requires a joint strategic action plan. Nigeria According to OCHA. In 2012. The National Civil Protection Agency and UN Resident Coordinator's office are coordinating flood response. 7. and 21. The Ministry of Health. said on 2 September. the government has released US$124." Francis Doukpola. the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and State Emergency Management Agencies." said Salifo Lompo. Bauchi and Kogi states. chairman of Bayelsa State's post-flood management committee in the Niger Delta.000 affected. a dyke that had been built to stop flooding in one set of fields instead caused flooding in the neighbouring fifth district. a market gardener in Komo.712 people have had their homes. In the Bangabana neighbourhood on the bank of the river. NEMA will set up two camps for displaced people in Bauchi State.506 have been affected in Nigeria's Abia. Benin Some 10. a Niamey neighbourhood. causing members of the two communities to come to blows. says OCHA. Burkina Faso In Burkina. Gambia According to the Gambian government.000 people in Benin have been displaced by floods. Shiroro and Jebba dams in southern Kebbi and Niger states have elevated the risk of floods along the Niger River. food and health supplies. and 6. as we must go far beyond emergency response measures given the reality of the anticipated flood of this year. 602 homes have been destroyed by floods. Critical needs include tents. according to residents.000 to respond to the crisis and called for international and national support.44 million people displaced and 30 out of 37 states affected.

affecting 11. as well as in Fatick and Kaolack in central Senegal. according to IOM. according to OCHA.irinnews. UNICEF. Mali Mali's capital. causing severe flooding in some neighbourhoods. has experienced consistent. which were the worst affected. and 280 homes have been destroyed.org/report/98775/west-africa-flood-round-up . World Vision.as well as in Niger. In Mauritania . The government is pumping floodwater from towns across the country. 2. and in Kedegou in the southeast.there is risk of an increase in locust infestations as a result of heavy rains. Two rain storms hit the city. 20. according to the government and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). mainly in and around the capital. the Senegalese Red Cross and other partners are distributing assistance to the most vulnerable. fields or businesses were flooded. IOM. Senegal Between 73. http://www. was heavily flooded.305 people were displaced among the 4. Mali and northeast Chad .225 whose homes. and is spraying mosquito repellent to try to control disease outbreaks. Bamako.Guinea Guinea's capital. close to 800 homes have been damaged or destroyed. Conakry. Mauritania In Mauritania.500 and 105. according to OCHA. Countrywide. causing severe flooding. Dakar.106 nationwide.000 homes have been flooded. according to the World Food Programme.000 people have been displaced. Some 37 deaths have been reported. aid groups and government agencies are distributing assistance in communes 1 and 4. heavy rains.

grains and pulses . zinc and iron .is still a relatively new phenomenon for the region. such as wheat flour and salt. supported by USAID.the nutrients that the World Health Organization says people in developing countries are most deficient in. 25 September 2013 (IRIN) .” Todd Crosby. told IRIN.Can the B-word beat malnutrition? • • • • FEEDBACK EMAIL PRINT EASY READ SHARE Photo: Yaajeende/IRIN One of the new orange flesh sweet potato varieties introduced to Senegal DAKAR. say food security experts. cassava. Projects using these plants to tackle malnutrition are taking place across Asia and in Africa. plantain. . they hope to introduce zinc-enriched rice and vitamin A-enriched orange corn. corn.While fortifying staple foods. has teamed up with HarvestPlus to reintroduce the vitamin A-rich orange-flesh sweet potato to the country (it died out for reasons that remain unclear) and to replace the currently used millet seed with iron-enriched pearl millet. including Mozambique and Uganda. bio-fortification . but it is set to explode over the next decade.the breeding of more nutritious vegetables. head of Yaajeende. food security NGO Yaajeende. The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) houses HarvestPlus. In Senegal. rice and other staples enriched with vitamin A. has become routine in urban parts of malnutrition-prone West Africa. a programme that breeds varieties of sweet potato. Eventually. “We want to reach a point where you see more orange sweet potato than any other kind in Senegal.

Yaajeende distributed these to women farmers through a network of some 5. Nutrient deficiencies According to IFRPRI’s Global Hidden Hunger index. in its most severe form. 1. anaemia can causes lethargy. it can kill.” in five to 10 years’ time. respectively. with the involvement of not just governments.and zincenriched rice varieties from Nigeria and Madagascar. Bio-fortification technology was introduced to Africa several years ago. Nestlé. Extreme zinc deficiency causes abrasions on the skin and other types of ill health. By targeting these zones. Each year.” said Pape Sene. but take-up is expected to accelerate. the World Food Programme’s (WFP) West Africa nutrition advisor. 18 of the 20 countries with the highest micronutrient deficiency rates are in sub-Saharan Africa. From white to orange Substituting white sweet potato seedlings for the orange variety took two years to scale up. into its future product lines.1 million children under age five die from lack of vitamin A or zinc. Micronutrient deficiency is often called a “hidden hunger” because it goes unnoticed.000 mother-to-mother clubs and also to commercial farmers and traders. HarvestPlus gave the Senegalese Agricultural Research Institute (ISRA) 150 seedlings of 25 varieties. they hope to eventually supplant white sweet potatoes altogether. released in June 2013. you don’t know how serious it can be. “We hope to have replaced existing millet seed with bio-fortified millet by our project’s end. targeting the country’s two largest production zones: Sadel in Matam Region in the northeast and Aroundou in Bakel Region in the east. In 2008. research institutes and nonprofits. but huge multinational corporations as well.He added. which produce and market 80 percent of the country’s sweet potatoes. Before that. This involves .” she added. impairs development and can cause irreversible brain damage.800 plants. But problems appear with severe anaemia. that may cause children to become blind. has long worked in micro-nutrient fortification and is now embracing bio-fortification. High malnutrition and stunting rates “are normally accompanied by high deficiency in vitamins and anaemia. and vitamin A deficiency results in visible eye damage in approximately three million pre-school age children globally. which ISRA turned into 8. or with vitamin A deficiency. Three-quarters of children under age five and 56 percent of women aged 15 to 49 are iron-deficient in Senegal. in line with startlingly high iron deficiency rates across West Africa. with plans to integrate vitamin A-enriched cassava and iron. “You need to understand the market before you can make the change. “Stunting consequences are much more in-our-face. In its more moderate forms.” said Kinday Samba. the Copenhagen Consensus identified bio-fortification as one of its top five solutions to global development challenges. senior technical adviser and former head of Yaajeende. for example.

said Sene. said UNICEF nutritionist Helene Schwartz. nothing will work. By the project’s end. Micronutrient Initiative and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition.” said Crosby. The National Alliance for Food Fortification (COSFAM) has been working with NGOs Helen Keller International. to fortify cooking oil with Vitamin A and flour with folic acid.” People must also be encouraged to change how they cook vegetables . said UNICEF regional nutrition specialist Roland Kupka. for several years. HarvestPlus also supplied a few bags of pearl millet to ISRA a couple of years ago. To reduce nutrient deficiencies in Senegal. each of which can produce 1-1. say market analysts. fortification and bio-fortification Fifteen years ago. Thus far. who is growing it.to avoid over-cooking them. behaviour-change initiatives and public health awarenessraising are all needed. Yaajeende targets mothers’ clubs with education about better nutrition and healthcare as well as gardening and farming techniques and business opportunities. estimates Crosby.” Fortified foods are accessible in cities but are often less so in rural areas.figuring out where the bulk of a crop is grown and traded. Now. which depletes their nutrients.particularly women and children . most African countries engage in some sort of vitamin A supplementation for children aged six to 59 months. Crosby stressed. Another approach to filling nutrition gaps in Senegal is fortification. feeding in the first months of life . However.will eat them. malaria. international agencies started giving doses of vitamin A as part of their health efforts. encouraging farmers to grow more nutritious crops does not mean that people . Senegalese in both rural and urban areas have been receptive to using fortified foods where they are available. “It’s affordable nutrition. lack of consumption of animal products. Those involved in bio-fortification do not knock these approaches but say people also need to learn how to take charge of their own nutrition needs to steer themselves to better health. Bio-fortification is sustainable and relatively cheap. citing uptake of iron. he said.and folic acid- . which ISRA turned into 2. parasites. “These include poor diet diversification. “we need a comprehensive approach that deals with its multiple causes. they will have replaced a less nutritious form of millet with the iron-enriched variety. and it is not vulnerable to the kinds of supply-chain challenges that can complicate mass supplement campaigns. as only an initial seed injection is needed. and how it reaches local. or enough to supply 600 hectares. and watched children’s mortality significantly drop. Education. Receptivity to change Unless people manage their own change.all of which might result in anaemia. national and regional markets. Supplements. “It’s a way of people taking control of their nutritional destiny through agriculture.5 tons.” said WFP’s Samba.400kg of seed.

“Nutrition-led agriculture .taking an epidemiological approach to it .“Eat Orange” .org/report/98823/can-the-b-word-beat-malnutrition . from thinking of agriculture as a means to end food insecurity to seeing it also as a means to combat poor nutrition.is still a very new concept.enriched flour and vitamin A-enriched cooking oil." said Crosby. national or regional research institutes must be empowered to bring it to scale before multinationals step in and take over.irinnews. and clear policies be outlined to guide its development. http://www. he warned. But to boost acceptance.campaign later this year. director of the Micronutrient Initiative in Senegal. fortification and bio-fortification must be proactively led by governments. Farmers are also expected to welcome the enriched millet seed. To have long-term traction. This requires a shift in mind set. pushing all orange fruit and vegetables from papayas to carrots to orange corn. And to ensure bio-fortification remains locally owned. they plan to launch a “Mangez Orange” . given that they are softer and sweeter than the white. which matures in 60 rather than 90 days. said Banda Ndiaye. Yaajeende hopes that Senegalese consumers will embrace orange sweet potatoes as well.

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