Give 5 Villages in Senegal Access to Healthcare

Jun 27, 2014

Helping gain access to healthcare update

Dispensary will be part of OBARAR dormitory
Dispensary will be part of OBARAR dormitory

With the generous donations we’ve received for our Healthcare Project, Neighbor Ape has been able to continue to assist those in need. The Neighbor Ape/OBARAR dormitory, for example, is finally finished (look for an update from an upcoming report on our Education Project) save for a few final touches, like a fence. The final building will be a dispensary, and the finishing touches on it will be done in time for the 2014-2015 school year. We hope to be able to provide basic supplies to this dispensary, such as bandages, pain reliever and other such items.

We were also able to recently assist a young man from Fangoli village with his medical expenses after he suffered several severe injuries following a motorcycle accident, in which he was a passenger. He suffered facial lacerations, several missing teeth and broken bones in his lower arm. He is on his way to recovery, with only the arm still needing some healing time. He and his family were especially appreciative of the aid that Neighbor Ape was able to provide, as the cost of his medical bills were more than 2 months salary for the average Senegalese in this area.

We anticipate helping prevent illness through the donation of mosquito nets, which Neighbor Ape does yearly, during the wet season. With the influx of many people from neighboring countries interested in the artisanal gold mining, the frequency of some illnesses, such as yellow fever has increased. Additionally, with an early onset of the rains, we anticipate a particularly tough year in terms of malaria. While the curative is relatively inexpensive compared to what someone in the United States pays for medical care (less than $10), it is cost prohibitive for many Senegalese people, especially those living in rural villages. With the continued support of generous donors, we are able to help a large number of people get access to healthcare in our part of Senegal. A little goes a very long way!

Mar 21, 2014

New Healthcare Dispensary Opens in April 2014!

Dispensary construction at dormitory in Senegal
Dispensary construction at dormitory in Senegal

Neighbor Ape continues to provide financial assistance for local people living in the villages of Fangoli, Tenkoto, Petit Oubadji, Seekoto, and Djendji. Although it is the dry season in southeastern Senegal, malaria cases still occur, and apparently yellow fever also struck the area. In addition to assisting humans in this rural area where adequate healthcare is relatively expensive, ensuring the health of the local human population also helps contribute to the health of the Fongoli chimpanzee community. Since chimpanzees are so closely related to humans, they can contract illnesses from us but usually do not have the same immunity to diseases that we do, especially ones that are new to them.

The largest healthcare project that Neighbor Ape is currently involved in is the construction and continued support of a dispensary at the Neighbor Ape/OBARAR dormitory for Beudick schoolchildren in Kedougou. This dorm allows rural children, largely of Beudick ancestry but also including other children such as several from the Bassari village of Petit Oubadji, to live in Kedougou so that they can attend the schools in this regional town. While most rural villages have schools, they are poorly funded compared to larger schools in regional towns, and teachers are often absent because of the difficulties in traveling long distances from their homes to these villages.

The dormitory is scheduled to be completed in April, and the dispensary will provide basic medical supplies and care. We also plan to help finance some of the students' costs of such care, especially in cases where parents are unable to help out financially or where parents cannot be contacted immediately because of the distance between the dormitory and the students' home villages where communication is limited. We hope to help train someone to work in the dispensary and will keep you updated on the progress of this goal!

Dec 2, 2013

Healthcare Project in Senegal Update

Future dormitory resident of Kedougou, Senegal!
Future dormitory resident of Kedougou, Senegal!

We are happy to be able to report that our project devoted to providing healthcare in southeastern Senegal is going strong! Neighbor Ape is working in conjunction with OBARAR, a Senegalese organization, to build a dormitory for rural Senegalese children (check out our project on ‘Conserving Chimpanzees through Education’ – last installment is almost completed!), and our healthcare project provides much-needed medicine and medical care to students living in the dorm.

This year, 28 children are residing in the OBARAR dormitory, which is specifically for Bedik children but also welcomes other children in difficult circumstances. For example, we were recently able to fund a student from the Bassari village of Petit Oubadji so that she could move into the dormitory, as she was unable to reliably attend the nearest school, which is about two miles (one way!) from her home village. This is a lengthy walk for a young student 10 times a week, especially when parents are unable to walk their children to school every day because of work-related tasks. Petit Oubadji is a village on the edge of the Fongoli chimpanzees’ home range, and a young man of that village also works for the Fongoli Savanna Chimpanzee Project.

The Bedik group is a minority in Senegal, comprising only five villages in this country, which is the only place they reside. They are traditionally horticulturalists but remain closely tied to the land where they grew up and emphasize knowledge of the environment. Young people still participate in month-long camping trips that immerse them in the natural environment and teach them valuable lessons about the wildlife and vegetation in this area of Senegal. The Sudano-Guinean habitat is relatively unique in terms of housing wild chimpanzees, and it is the reason Neighbor Ape was established in Senegal. We know very little about savanna chimpanzees, and probably less than 500 live in Senegal. It is vital to work with local stakeholders, such as the Bedik people, in order to conserve this endangered species. Neighbor Ape was incorporated to work with local people and to help provide for their wellbeing as well as the chimpanzees that live alongside them. 

Our healthcare project has become specifically geared to providing funds for children in need that are residents of the OBARAR dormitory. Often times these children live far from their home villages, as the dormitory is located in the regional town of Kedougou, where children can have access to better schools. We provide funds for children in immediate need of medical attention, especially in cases where it may take days to contact their parents. We also provide for more than 50% of the healthcare costs of children whose parents are unable to take care of all their healthcare costs. Many people living in rural Senegal have little access to cash, as they are traditionally horticulturalists that grow most of their yearly food supply and plant little in the way of cash crops (to sell). We also plan on funding the building of a small pharmacy on site at the dormitory. The healthcare project is one of the most significant endeavors that Neighbor Ape takes on, as medical care is relatively expensive for people in the Kedougou area, not always reliable and crucial to the health and wellbeing of any person. Without the help of people like you we couldn't provide assistance to those in Senegal less fortunate than ourselves - thank you!


Sep 6, 2013

Dorm project almost completed!

Dormitory in Kedougou, Senegal
Dormitory in Kedougou, Senegal

Great news from Kedougou, Senegal is that we are very close to completing the dormitory project that Neighbor Ape is helping fund in conjunction with the Bedik organization OBARAR. In addition to helping fund the dormitory - which also includes fencing the compound, building a kitchen and dining hall, building latrines, a well and housing for the house mother and house father - we are helping provide access to healthcare for Bedik children living in the dorm.

Bedik children living in rural areas are being given the opportunity to attend better schools in the regional town of Kedougou through the establishment of the OBARAR dormitory. Neighbor Ape has also been able to provide assistance to these schoolchildren via our healthcare project. We currently provide up to 75% of the costs of medical care for children whose parents are unable to assist them or in emergency cases where immediate care is necessary.  We also hope to help fund the construction of a small dispensary within the dormitory's compound.

The very generous donations of Dr. Harold Marder and Dr. Jewel Slesnick have made the dormitory project possible. Above is a photo of the dormitory site, and you can find a brief video clip of the dormitory site and the various buildings that have so far been constructed there.  In the video you can also see women pulling water from the dormitory well.

Everyone involved with Neighbor Ape and OBARAR is thrilled to see the project completed in time for the new schoolyear begin in October - look for photos and updates coming soon!


May 28, 2013

Bringing healthcare to rural Senegalese children

Hospital in Kedougou, Senegal
Hospital in Kedougou, Senegal

Neighbor Ape is happy to report that one of our first accomplishments in terms of giving villages in Senegal access to healthcare has been to help schoolchildren from the dormitory project we support in Kedougou.  Our organizations is working in conjunction with the Beudik organization, registered in Senegal, to build a dormitory in Kedougou for rural village children who live outside the main population center of Kedougou, in the Kedougou region.  

In addition to providing lodging in Kedougou so village children can attend better schools in this regional town, we have also been able to provide assistance with these children's healthcare needs.  Although being in the town of Kedougou means the Neighbor Ape/OBRAR dormitory residents have better access to education and healthcare facilities, they are also somewhat removed from their parents who remain in the village, and access to healthcare in Senegal is relatively expensive for most people.  Therefore, Neighbor Ape has been able to help defray some of the greater expenses for the schoolchildren, especially in emergency situations.

Additionally, our organization assisted in providing medical care in one case of a severely ill patient in Kedougou whose family and friends were unable to collect enough funds to cover all his medical bills. The medical reforms of past decades in Senegal have resulted in greater discrepancies in the ability to pay for those in rural areas especially where barter systems have been used traditionally. We are happy that we can provide some assistance in the most dire circumstances, especially, and in helping provide seed money to fledgling community healthcare insurance systems (see our project description).

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Project Leader

Jill Pruetz

Ames, Iowa United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Give 5 Villages in Senegal Access to Healthcare