Fire destroys orthopedic center in Burkina Faso

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In early June, in the town of Tenkodogo, Burkina Faso, a country in West Africa, a Handicap International orthopedic center caught fire and was almost completely destroyed. The causes of the fire are still unknown. 

The corrugated roofs, blackened walls, and ash-covered floors bear witness to the intensity of the flames that tore through the building.

Opening in 2013 as an extension to the local hospital, the Tenkodogo center provided services to more than 200 individuals each year.

“Handicap International organization supported the center right from the start. We donated equipment and trained the staff. It’s terrible to see it in this state, especially for people from the region who need rehabilitation care, orthotic braces, and prosthetic limbs,” says Raphaël Guibila, Handicap International’s rehabilitation project manager.

Rachidatou, age nine, has been going to the center since it opened. “Rachidatou had a lot of health problems after my wife gave birth to her,” says her father, Madi. “She had to have a trans-tibial amputation 20 days after she was born, otherwise she would have developed a malformation as she grows up. When the center opened in 2013, Rachidatou’s follow-up care improved. Handicap International gave her a prosthesis and since then she’s been able to walk to school with her friends. 

Handicap International is working with the health authorities in Burkina Faso to find a solution that will enable individuals like Rachidatou to continue rehabilitation and other services that were once provided by the center.

“We’re looking into solutions to compensate for the loss of the center,” says Guibila. “We’re going to continue training the orthoprosthesists, and we’re planning to set up mobile clinics to provide patients with follow-up care. Some people need rehabilitation care. Others are waiting for their prostheses to be adjusted or repaired.

“It’s going to take time to rebuild and restock, and for a poor country like Burkina, it’s going to cost a lot of money, but with everyone’s support and hard work, we’ll be able to reopen the orthopedic center very soon,” Raphaël says confidently. 

More than $200,000 is needed to rebuild the Tenkodogo center. If you would like to support Handicap International projects similar to this, please make a gift here.