Children with a burnt esophagus in Guinea


This initiative is closed. It was realized by Howest before the Howest Foundation was set up. We show this project on this website as one of many examples of the corporate social responsability initiatives Howest University of Applied Sciences already supported in recent years.


Guinea is the second bauxite producing country in the world. For the first refining of aluminum ore, Sodium Hydroxide (caustic soda) is used. This highly toxic soda is widespread in Guinea and in the surrounding countries, in the gray economy for the production of soap and paint. It causes a large number of esophageal burns of children who mistakenly are taking it in, thinking it was a soft drink.

The not-for-profit organisation KiCo from the city of Kortrijk helps in the treatment of esophageal burns of children in Conakry. Both in terms of prevention and medical interventions. Since 2004, KiCo makes an appeal to the expertise of Howest. The first student who has offered support on the spot was Thomas P. Jansen.

In 2006, with the help of the NGO 2AMG (Aide et Action Médicales en Guinée) in Conakry and Howest, an ICT center was launched to support the medical center DHU Donka, CHU Ignace Deen and the Faculté de Médecine. HOWEST already sent several students for technical support and started a study of the aluminum cycle in Guinea. Since 2007 we are working on technical assistance for independent power and water supply for the operating room, training and awareness of the hazard for the (at home) manufacturing of soap.

The main purpose of KiCo is to make the aid structural, both at home and in Guinea, by continuing to gain support from the international mining industry and the transfer of technology to the local aluminum recycling industry for the local development of exportable products. This should enable Conakry (and Guinea) to locally create resources for healthcare and medical training.

At the end of December 2011, we launch a new expedition of experts followed by interns who join in the first half of 2012.