World Health Day

on 07 Apr, 2021

Tiébelé (Burkina Faso), 04/07/2021, Sr. Julienne Nikiéma, delegate of JPIC Vice-Province of Africa.- In 1948, the First World Health Assembly called for a World Health Day to mark the creation of the World Health Organization (WHO). Since 1950, this day has been celebrated every year on April 7, with its aim to create awareness of a specific health topic, to highlight a priority area of concern for the World Health Organization.

Let Us Build A Fairer, Healthier World for Everyone is the focus of 2021. In recent years, countries in the western pacific have undergone rapid economic growth, migration and development. This created opportunities for better lives for many, but left others behind. Covid 19 pandemic has pushed many people into poverty, food insecurity and an increase in social and health inequalities. This year, the world health day aims at bringing people together to build a fairer and healthier world with its principle to offer highest attainable standard health, to every person without any kind of distinction of race, creed, economic or social status.[1]

Universal church gives special attention to the sick and those who provide care and assistance to them, on the World Day of the Sick on February 11 every year, an observation introduced by Pope John Paul II as a way for believers to offer prayers for those suffering from illnesses.

The current pandemic has intensified inequality in our healthcare systems and exposed inefficiencies in the care of the sick, elderly, weak and vulnerable people not having access to care in an equitable manner. Yet the pandemic has also highlighted the dedication and generosity of healthcare personnel, volunteers, support staff, priests, men and women religious for their self-giving, responsibility and love of neighbor.[2]

Marie Poussepin encouraged us to "serve the sick with great charity, and without showing any sign of distaste. Try, if possible, to be even more useful to the good of their souls than to the relief of their bodies.”[3] Consecrated to the Lord for the service of charity in the Church, the Dominican Sisters of the Presentation in the Vice-Province of Africa dedicate ourselves to the pastoral care of health.  Following the spirit of our Foundress, we witness compassion, mercy and love of God daily through our closeness and solidarity with the sick, poor and vulnerable without distinction.

With the financial support from Manos Unidas and from an Italian Association, we opened the CSPS (Centre de Santé et de Promotion Sociale), a Health Care center for social promotion called Saint Vincent de Paul in Tiébelé, a rural village in Burkina Faso, on June 12, 2018. We offer curative and preventive care in this new health Center for the children who suffer from malnutrition, prenatal consultations for pregnant women and deliveries. There are 15 staff working in our CSPS: 5 sisters and 10 lay people.

We receive an average of 900 patients per month. The most common diseases are malaria and bronchitis. We have not yet encountered any cases of Covid-19 in our health center, but we continue to respect the protective and preventive measures in force in the country in order to care for ourselves and others.

The CSPS is open every day except Sunday. The patients often arrive late and their care becomes more difficult. With our meagre means, we try to support the poor people who arrive and do not have the financial means to receive a proper health care treatment.

Like all other missions, we face many difficulties, but we have learned to count on the Divine Providence. Through this humble health ministry, in this periphery of Burkina Faso, we remain faithful to the call of Pope Francis: "Only a gaze transformed by charity can enable the dignity of others to be recognized and, as a consequence, the poor to be acknowledged and valued in their dignity, respected in their identity and culture, and thus truly integrated into society."[4]


[2] Pope Francis, message on the occasion of the Day of the Sick on February 11, 2021
[3] Marie Poussepin, General Advices
[4] Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti, 187