Senegal is a small country roughly a third of the size of the UK in western Africa.  The economy relies on the industries of food processing, mining and oil refinement and Senegal is one of the world’s poorest countries and is ranked 152nd out of 183 by GDP per capita.  In fact, Senegal’s GDP per capita has actually decreased in the last 25 years.

76% of Senegal’s population has access to clean water and this is mainly obtained from boreholes.  Only 57% have access to sanitation facilities, and this figure is just 34% in rural areas.  Moreover, just 2% of the rural population is connected to a sewage system.  While Senegal has very low HIV rates when compared to other African countries, these statistics lead to many cases of avoidable water borne diseases.  70% of Senegal’s doctors live in Dakar, the capital, so there are large disparities in rural areas and only 9% of children under five with a fever receive appropriate anti-malarial medication.

At 60 per 1000 live births, the infant mortality rate in Senegal is worryingly high.  General health of children in the country is also very poor with 19% of all children under five suffering from moderate-severe stunting caused by malnutrition.  Furthermore, nearly one in ten children suffers from wasting.

The infant mortality rates have been steadily improving and Senegal has signed up to the eight UN millennium development goals.