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September 2019

Int J Health Serv. 1995 ; 25(3): 539-58.

Primary health care and donor dependency: a case study of nongovernment assistance in Burkina Faso.

Maclure R.

Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa, Canada.

Primary health care assistance has become prominent in the rural development programs of many nongovernment organizations throughout sub-Saharan Africa. By emphasizing education and the promotion of new participatory health systems, most such programs aim to enhance the conditions of women as principal community care givers. Yet village-level health assistance in Africa is not without shortcomings. This is exemplified in a case study of two nongovernment programs in Burkina Faso's Namentenga Province. Although both programs have contributed to maternal health and infant survival, they have also induced new ties of donor dependency. This appears to present a conundrum for the sponsoring agencies which espouse self-reliance as a development assistance goal. In fact, however, where the intervention of nongovernment organizations helps to improve rural health, new dimensions of dependency may prove to be a positive first stage in the mobilization of women and the development of locally managed health systems. For this to be so, much is contingent on the capacity of these organizations to integrate local participation in their own planning and management processes, and to augment the professional status of indigenous health workers.

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