Arriving last week in Abidjan, the economic capital of Côte d’Ivoire, the Order of Malta’s Grand Hospitaller, Dominique de La Rochefoucauld-Montbel, had a busy calendar for celebrating the 50 years of excellent diplomatic relations with the African country bordering the Gulf of Guinea.
On Wednesday, the Grand Hospitaller was received by Ivorian Prime Minister Patrick Achi, to whom he confirmed the Order of Malta’s desire to strengthen cooperation in the health, social and education sectors. “Our approach is always person-oriented. Infrastructure, functions and skills must be at the service of women and men. Each person who can be cared for, receive training and learn a trade represents a success for us,” said Dominique de La Rochefoucauld-Montbel at the end of the talks. The Grand Hospitaller also met Foreign Minister Kandia Kamissoko Camara and Apostolic Nuncio Mgr. Paolo Borgia. The possibility of Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara’s visit to Rome in September was discussed.
During his time in Côte d’Ivoire, the Grand Hospitaller visited the Dominique Ouattara Mother-Child Hospital in Bingerville, accompanied by the Minister of Health and Public Hygiene, Pierre Dimba, and the hospital director, Hachim Diop.
Dominique de La Rochefoucauld Montbel praised the quality of this prestigious healthcare facility. “We are very pleased to come here and thank the First Lady for having given us this opportunity. We were able to see the quality of the services that Ivory Coast can offer its children, important for improving health and giving the Ivorians the possibility of a dignified life in this country”.
The Grand Hospitaller also visited the Saint Jean Baptiste Hospital in Bodo, located 100 kilometres from Abidjan, inaugurated in 2015 and managed by Ordre de Malte France, some clinics and socio-cultural centres. The Bodo hospital has progressively implemented medical and surgical services, a mother-child department, vaccinations, radiology and first-aid units, and today provides healthcare to some 250 thousand people in the Agneby-Tiassa region. It also has several ambulances ready to intervene on the road to Abidjan, where some 100 accidents occur every month. Ordre de Malte France supports 17 medical centres countrywide through donations of medicines and medical equipment or fundings.
The Order of Malta intends to develop its activities in Ivory Coast in the first-aid training, ophthalmology and gynaecology sectors, as well as launch new health and social assistance initiatives; it has a long-standing presence in Ivory Coast, a country with 26 million inhabitants and a life expectancy of 57 years. Côte d’Ivoire and the Order of Malta signed a cooperation agreement in September 2019.