Renovation of a Health Center’s Maternity Ward in the Sine Saloum delta in Senegal

Caught between the land and the sea, Sine Saloum is one of Senegal’s must picturesque regions. It is also one of the poorest. Contact with the outside world is limited on the delta’s 100-or-so islands, and reliant on passing pirogues. When travelling to the islands, Michel Huchet decided to make the most of this transhumance to bring the isolated villagers essential items, like old eyeglasses, unused but unexpired drugs, and books for schools. This is how Voiles Sans Frontières was created 20 years ago.

A word from the sponsors

When I got back from maternity leave, I felt duty-bound to help the women of Bassar give birth in decent conditions.

Elisabeth Ndiaye Ndong

Human Resources Manager, Air Liquide Senegal

Building accommodation near the maternity was essential to ensure a midwife could be recruited. This will considerably reduce the response time for night births.

Marie Ba Lacouture

IT Manager, Air Liquide Senegal

Improved access to healthcare on Bassar island

Voiles Sans Frontières has objectives on three fronts: medicine, education, and socio-economics. Each project originates with a request from the local population: « we visit the villages every year to enable the locals to get to know us and to follow the initiatives’ progress, » project coordinator Cécile Gouy adds. The remoteness of medical centers in Bassar makes access to healthcare more difficult. 6,000 inhabitants rely on a health center that can no longer provide adequate care: the building is run down and there is no continuous electricity supply or running water. « We were alerted by the head nurse in 2015, » she remembers. It took 18 months of works before the new 340 m2 complex was inaugurated, with a renovated maternity ward, a brand-new general practice center, a dispensary, and accommodation for the midwife. The Air Liquide Foundation funded the acquisition of the materials needed for the works and certain equipment, including a Doppler fetal monitor and an auscultation lamp.

Continuous support for women

Thanks to the construction of accommodation, the Health Center’s maternity ward could hire a full-time midwife. « Now the midwife is respected by the locals, » the coordinator explains. « In fact, she has just extended her contract. » Support for pregnant women has improved and there is increased neonatal monitoring: the number of prenatal consultations has been multiplied by 5 and a family planning department has been set up. In terms of general practice, the progressive increase in the number of consultations has led to an improvement in care for the sick. « We drop by regularly to ensure that the buildings are maintained correctly and to carry out medical and IT training, » Cécile Gouy finishes . “The center is now autonomous: the price of consultations finances its operations and rainwater recovery and solar power systems have been installed in all buildings.”

To find out more

Voiles sans frontières

Read about the previous Voiles Sans Frontières project supported by the Air Liquide Foundation


The maternity ward has enabled women to get their consultations on time. They have all their prenatal consultations. The medical center is able to detect high-risk pregnancies and refer the patients concerned to hospitals. I examine around thirty women per month and deliver 10 babies on average. At the same time, since July 2016, the number of general practice consultations has tripled: the locals want to come to the medical center and the staff is dynamic!

Fatou Faye
Head Nurse at the Bassar Medical Center maternity ward