Health Needs Assessment for Louga City, Senegal
The city of Louga, Senegal, represents one of 11 African cities participating in the Earth Institute at Columbia University's Millennium Cities Initiative (MCI). Complementing the already established Millennium Villages Project, the objectives of MCI are to help underserved sub-Saharan cities achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), attract foreign direct investment and design an urban development strategy that will result in economic growth and social sector improvements. With a population of just under 100,000, Louga is the smallest of the Millennium Cities; however, as a regional capital with strong economic ties to its rural surroundings, Louga epitomizes the situation in many sub-Saharan cities, serving, therefore, as an excellent and extremely telling model for the MCI. The specific goal of this needs assessment was to examine the status of the healthcare system in Louga and to gather the information required to bring about change that will be beneficial to the health of the population. The three health-specific MDGs – to reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases – acted as the criteria for determining progress. Data collection occurred from May - July 2008 in Louga and, to a much smaller degree, in Dakar. The needs assessment utilized local administrative records where possible, with regional and national data estimations employed only where necessary. The use of the UN-Millennium Project health costing tool allowed for a detailed cost projection, estimating the amount of financial investment required to assist the city of Louga in achieving the health-specific MDGs from 2010 - 2015. Organized into five main sections, this report provides a comprehensive assessment of the public health situation in Louga and the costs associated with achieving the MDGs before 2015. The first introductory section reviews necessary background information, methodology and limitations; next, a description of the Senegalese health care system provides a context for the critical elements of this report – the analysis of each health-specific MDG in Louga. Finally, concluding remarks synthesize the researcher's findings and present some final comments and recommendations.
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