The AMPO Clinic is unique in Ouagadougou and indeed in the whole of Burkina Faso and was established in 1998. Irrespective of race or religion, anyone seeking help is treated here. The problem in this country is not usually the lack of medical care, but the means to pay for it. In the state and private health centres every single treatment including the necessary material must be paid
for – immediately and entirely before the treatment begins. And it is often the case that people are deterred from consulting a doctor out of fear of what it may cost.
At AMPO things are different: everyone pays a nominal charge of about 15 cents and is given the necessary medication. Only special treatment (especially dental or gynaecological) are more expensive, but still far below the price level of other health centres.
Some of the former AMPO kids are now working as part of the Clinic team, having completed their training as nurses or medical assistants. Many people are fleeing to the capital to escape terror attacks and so at present we are treating up to 100,000 patients a year, 50 % of whom are children. The waiting room and the covered inner courtyard are frequently overcrowded and a long queue regularly forms along the street outside the Clinic. Many of the patients come from afar to get here, sometimes starting out on foot from poor, remote areas at night to wait in front of the Clinic gate in the morning.
The symptoms most frequently diagnosed by the medical staff are fever (mostly due to malaria) and diarrhoea. Such illnesses are potentially life-threatening and can be remedied at a cost of less than € 1.
The Dressings Unit treats burns, eczema, snake bites and accident injuries. In Africa open wounds require particularly intensive care since healing when exposed to air is not possible because of the many flies. If they are completely covered on the other hand, simple injuries may easily result in tropical ulcers, especially during the rainy season. The unit specialises in treating these types of cases.
The Gynaecology Unit at the AMPO Clinic offers treatment to poor women and girls from the surrounding area as well as to patients referred by the P.P.Filles Counselling Centre. The cost of treatment and medication is modest and, in keeping with AMPO practice, adapted to the situation of the patient. The Gynaecology Unit also conducts screening tests for the women and girls from the AMPO institutions.
Equipped with a special dentist chair suitable for use in the tropics and which remains functional for several minutes after a power cut, the Dental Practice has been treating patients for a token fee since 2005 – AMPO kids free of course. The African dentists here can also manufacture dental prostheses themselves.
Hundreds and thousands of pairs of spectacles are collected in Europe and sent to our Optical Unit, now managed by a former AMPO orphan, today an accomplished medical nurse. The Unit provides help to poor people who can come to have their glasses fitted or receive new glasses. Thanks to the huge number of donated spectacles, we can match the right glasses to the right people. Waiting times are long, but in the end everyone leaves with a smile.
The Rehab Unit at AMPO offers physiotherapy for children and adults either as out-patients or in-patients. In view of the constantly increasing number of traffic accidents in particular, it is becoming more and more important to provide affordable treatment in this sector too. The Rehab Unit is well equipped to carry on a diverse variety of massage and physiotherapy treatments on its small patients.
The in-patient section of the Rehab Unit treats children who have undergone hospital treatment and who cannot yet be discharged home. This is the case especially children with disabilities or those with major burns. In a small courtyard separated off from the Clinic we have set up 6 beds for the little rehab patients. All of the children come from very poor families and are in urgent need of intensive, professional care. Good food and attention are also an important part of their treatment.
Another feature of the Clinic is the LINDA Project. Many children brought to the Clinic are undernourished. They are referred immediately with their mothers to LINDA. Here the undernourished children are fed with a particularly nutritious porridge
until their physical development matches their age.
"Viimde" means "Life". The Viimde Project was started in 2013, providing medical care for 50 HIV-positive mothers and their children every year and offering access to counselling on matters of hygiene and nutrition. The respective village communities
are included in the counselling process, to improve understanding of the disease and thus ensure better integration of the women into their families and into society. The Viimde Project is conducted by the staff of the AMPO Clinic and works in the villages around Ouagadougou in cooperation with the local representatives of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Affairs.