The Ministry of Health in Burkina Faso, with support from ACF, works closely with Traditional Health Practitioners (THPs) throughout the country to address severe acute malnutrition. Most of the THPs in Pama district belong to a Traditional Health Practitioners Association, which provides trainings and sensitizations in health centers regarding diseases that are common in their communities (e.g. malaria, acute malnutrition, etc.) and the referral of cases.
During a recent SQUEAC assessment, semi-structured interviews with THPs in Pama revealed some knowledge about acute malnutrition. Many of them knew individual cases treated at OTPs with ATPE that responded favorable to treatment. However, their knowledge regarding acute malnutrition and its treatment was limited. Some THP referred the children to health centers when they saw visible signs of acute malnutrition before starting treatment themselves, but others referred children only after their treatment was ineffective over a period of time (which varied from a few days to a month). In general, THPs were found to be motivated and interested in receiving further information and training on the identification of cases. This experience highlighted the potential of working closely with THPs as a means of improving programme awareness and coverage.
Semi-structured interview with THP. CSPS Toutourgou,