The Bajenu Gox as social mobilization and social norms transformation agents in maternal, child and youth health in Senegal

Rosalie Aduayi Diop, Fatou Kébé Gassama, Samba Cor Sarr, Cheikh Tidiane Athie, Mbarka Ndaw, Sagar Gassama Ndiaye


Maternal and new-born mortality remains the greatest existing disparity in health between low-income and high-income countries. To achieve improvement in maternal and child health, it is important to consider cultural and gender dimensions. We studied the role of Bajenu Gox women (BGs) in reducing maternal and child mortality through social mobilization and social transformation in Senegal. Quantitative and qualitative data on gender and health were collected in Dakar, Louga, Fatick and Kaolack, at the individual, family, community and institutional levels using semi-structured interviews, focus groups and community dialogues based on a participatory and inclusive approach. Data were collected from authorities and professionals working in the health sector (head nurses, midwives, Health Committee (CS), and family and community members who are directly concerned or have authority on the patient (pregnant women, breastfeeding women, children and adolescents, mothers and father’s in-law, husbands, imams, priests). Results of our research showed that BGs intervene at three levels - beneficiaries, custodians of habits and customs or decisions, and custodians of moral obligations or decisions. The BGs contribute in the improvement of the main health outcomes, in particular: antenatal care, postnatal care for mothers and their children. Plus, many women and girls are now being referred to the appropriate structures for ante-and post-natal visits, family planning, etc. In conclusion, BGs have developed efficient methods of social mobilization to promote MCH, and BGs’are potential social and gender norms’ transforming agents. (Afr J Reprod Health 2021; 25[3s]: 105-120).

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