A cutting-edge hospital in the Abidjan suburb of Bingerville is reducing maternal mortality rates in the world's largest cocoa producer, proving the promise of public-private partnerships.
For the past two years, the mother-child hospital in Bingerville, founded by the foundation of Ivorian first lady Dominique Ouattara, has seen over 60,000 patients.
On a visit to the hospital on Tuesday, Ouattara shared the hospital's success with dignitaries.
"I made a commitment to building this hospital which has provided relief for the Ivorian people and the sub-region, since its opening in 2018," Ouattara said.
The 25 billion FCFA ($43.28 million) hospital, which offers a range of care to all categories of patients, is the centre of reference for neonatal and specialized surgery, the first lady told visitors following a tour of the artistically designed 130-bed facility.
Although it is private, fees at the hospital are subsidized and about 25% of patients receive free treatment.
"Since I took office I have wanted to replicate this hospital. It serves the people not only of Abidjan, but the entire country," said Ivorian Health Minister Eugene Aka Aouele, who was present for the visit.
In her opening remarks, Dr. Sylvia da Silva Anoma, Director of the Medical and Scientific Department, gave examples of the breakthrough surgery and treatment the facility had enabled in its relatively short history. They included the story of a 4 year old who was treated successfully for cancer.
"We have the power to change the deal. You can't say it's impossible until it's done," Anoma said.
The visit was arranged to showcase the hospital to African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, who was accompanied by a team of Bank managers and Dr. Jennifer Blanke, Bank Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development.
Adesina commended the hospital for providing free healthcare to the most vulnerable segments of the country - pregnant women and children under five.
"Your hospital gives hope for children... You have been an example for Africa. The African Development Bank looks forward to exploring ways to strengthen our collaboration to support your noble work," Adesina said.
Maternal and child mortality remain high in Côte d'Ivoire, with maternal mortality at 645 per 100,000 live births (2015); neonatal mortality currently at 33.5 per 1,000 live births and under five mortality rate, 89 per 1,000 live births (2016).
The African Development Bank Group recognizes that to provide quality healthcare for women and children and to reduce maternal and child mortality in Africa, there is a great need to mobilize domestic resources and public-private partnerships. In particular, governments are urged to increase their national budgetary allocations to the health sector to 15%, in line with the Abuja Declaration.
The African Development Bank is currently supporting the government of Côte d'Ivoire's initiative to rehabilitate 40 health facilities under the Projet d'Appui au Programme Social du Gouvernement.