Poor nutrition and a lack of health care facilities are problems facing families in Togo, but ChildFund is working to improve conditions.
Millions of families in Togo live below the poverty line, and the challenges facing the poor have been great after years of civil unrest wreaked havoc on the country's political stability. ChildFund has worked in Togo since 1984, and although conditions have improved in the past 29 years, the road to good health and economic security is long for many families.
Approximately one third of Togo's population lives in poverty. For the country's poorest families, everyday life poses a variety of challenges. In rural communities, access to basic health care is scarce, as many parents simply cannot afford to transport their children to the nearest medical center, even in the event of an emergency. Food shortage is another serious problem. According to UNICEF, 30 percent of children under the age of 5 suffered from moderate to severe stunting due to malnutrition between 2006 and 2010, and 21 percent of children were moderately to severely underweight during this same period.
Poor sanitation and hygiene are also serious issues in Togo. In 2008, just 3 percent of people living in rural areas in Togo had access to improved sanitation facilities, which led to the spread of bacterial diseases such as diarrhea. Also, less than half of families living in rural Togo had access to clean drinking water.
A Helping Hand
For rural health clinics, the burden can often be too much to bear. With limited supplies and insufficient numbers of trained health care professionals, many clinics are simply unable to meet the needs of the community, which further jeopardizes the safety of thousands of children. For this reason, ChildFund has helped support health centers and clinics that provide lifesaving vaccinations against preventable illnesses like measles, diphtheria, whooping cough and polio.
Health education is another vital aspect of our work in Togo. Some families are unaware of the steps they can take to mitigate these dangers to their children's health, so we work with community leaders to highlight the benefits of national immunization programs and other health care initiatives. We also help families understand the importance of early intervention, particularly by bringing their children to health clinics at the first signs of serious illness.
Clean Water, Healthy Starts
Although providing access to basic health care services is vital to rural communities in Togo, so too is improving supplies of drinking water and sanitation systems. ChildFund works closely with community water committees to ensure that newly installed water pumps and latrines are being used effectively and being maintained,we are helping reduce the spread of potentially life-threatening illnesses.
Our initiatives in Togo have proven successful, and thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we have been able to improve the quality of life for many families. However, the situation in some parts of the country remains dire, and we need your help.
To invest in the future of Togo's children, please consider purchasing a gift from ChildFund's Gifts of Love & Hope catalog. There are many ways to help, from installing new latrines in villages to building water pumps. These gifts will make a tremendous difference to Togolese families living in poverty. A gift of just $50 will help build latrines, water pumps and other vital facilities in rural villages, and $132 will provide a community with one dozen chemically treated mosquito nets to combat the spread of malaria.