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Burkina Faso is a country with an approximate area of 274 thousand sq. km. (UNO, 2001). Its population is 13.393 million, and the sex ratio (men per hundred women) is 96 (UNO, 2004). The proportion of population under the age of 15 years is 49% (UNO, 2004), and the proportion of population above the age of 60 years is 4% (WHO, 2004). The literacy rate is 18.5% for men and 8.1% for women (UNESCO/MoH, 2004).

The country is a low income group country (based on World Bank 2004 criteria). The proportion of health budget to GDP is 3%. The per capita total expenditure on health is 27 international $, and the per capita government expenditure on health is 16 international $ (WHO, 2004). The main language(s) used in the country is (are) French. The largest ethnic group(s) is (are) Mossi, and the other ethnic group(s) are (is) Dioula, Peulh, Gourmantché, Bobo, Gourounsi, Samo. The largest religious group(s) is (are) Muslim, and the other religious group(s) are (is) indigenous groups. The life expectancy at birth is 40.6 years for males and 42.6 years for females (WHO, 2004). The healthy life expectancy at birth is 35 years for males and 36 years for females (WHO, 2004).


In a community study, Ouedraogo et al (1997) found enuresis in 12.9% in a sample of 1575 adolescents. Among them, 78.9% had primary enuresis. Ouedraogo et al (1998a) estimated the prevalence of disorders in child and adolescent population in a psychiatric hospital. The most current pathologies were epilepsy (31.5%), psychoses (25.7%) and adjustment disorders (21.5%). Ouedraogo and Ouango (1998) found paranoid schizophrenia to be the predominant subtype of schizophrenia among psychiatric patients. Ouedraogo et al (1998b) found that psychosocial support and parity play an important role in postpartum depression among patients admitted to maternity wards.


Mental Health Policy A mental health policy is absent. Some features of mental health policy are defined in the Public Health Code.

Substance Abuse Policy A substance abuse policy is present. Details about the year of formulation are not available. Substance abuse issues are also discussed in the Public Health Code.

National Mental Health Programme A national mental health programme is present. The programme was formulated in 2002.

National Therapeutic Drug Policy/Essential List of Drugs A national therapeutic drug policy/essential list of drugs is present. It was formulated in 1996.

Mental Health Legislation The Public Health Code has references to mental health. The latest legislation was enacted in 1994.

Mental Health Financing There are no budget allocations for mental health. Details about expenditure on mental health are not available. Details about sources of financing are not available. Details about disability benefits for mental health are not available.

Mental Health Facilities Mental health is a part of primary health care system. Actual treatment of severe mental disorders is available at the primary level. Psychiatric units are present in national and regional hospitals and one in an isolation hospital. Regular training of primary care professionals is carried out in the field of mental health. In the last two years, about 50 personnel were provided training. There are community care facilities for patients with mental disorders. Traditional treatment by healers provide community care. Since 1983, the mental health system has been gradually decentralized.

Psychiatric Beds and Professionals

  • Total psychiatric beds per 10 000 population
  • Psychiatric beds in mental hospitals per 10 000 population
  • Psychiatric beds in general hospitals per 10 000 population
  • Psychiatric beds in other settings per 10 000 population
  • Number of psychiatrists per 100 000 population
  • Number of neurosurgeons per 100 000 population
  • Number of psychiatric nurses per 100 000 population
  • Number of neurologists per 100 000 population
  • Number of psychologists per 100 000 population
  • Number of social workers per 100 000 population
  • 0.18
  • 0.06
  • 0.12
  • 0
  • 0.05
  • 0
  • 0.4
  • 0.01
  • 0.03
  • 0.02

Non-Governmental Organizations NGOs are involved with mental health in the country. They are mainly involved in advocacy, treatment and rehabilitation.

Information Gathering System There is mental health reporting system in the country. Data are only available at the hospital level; abstracts can be obtained from the Health Statistical Report 1996. The country has data collection system or epidemiological study on mental health. A National Health Information System consists of data related to epidemiological study and hospital data. They are included in the National Health Statistics Report 1996 and the Mental Health Activities Assessment 2000.

Programmes for Special Population The country has specific programmes for mental health for children. In 2001, new strategies were developed to look into the children with mental conditions.

Therapeutic Drugs The following therapeutic drugs are generally available at the primary health care level of the country: carbamazepine, phenobarbital, chlorpromazine, diazepam, fluphenazine, haloperidol. 

Source: World Health Organization Mental Health Atlas