Access to healthcare for vulnerable groups in West Africa

HELP Allemagne


In West Africa, the health status of the population is precarious, particularly because of very poor access to healthcare services. In 2008, the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO), the German NGO Help, and the Direction régionale de la santé (DRS) du Sahel in Burkina Faso decided to experiment with user fee exemptions for children under five and pregnant or breastfeeding women. The project’s two objectives are to:

  • provide medical treatment for vulnerable populations;
  • improve the national health policy.

The project has four components:

  • the intervention itself (subsidy for care provided to these vulnerable populations and measures to support this subsidy);
  • evaluative research on the intervention;
  • transfer and dissemination of the knowledge produced by the intervention;
  • advocacy for policy change.

For the research and knowledge transfer activities, the project established a scientific partnership with the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM), and in particular, with Professor Valéry Ridde as scientific advisor. The CRCHUM’s research and knowledge transfer mandate, which it carries out in collaboration with the other partners, includes 1) identifying knowledge needs and setting priorities, 2) producing knowledge, 3) disseminating that knowledge, and 4) conducting activities to encourage its use.