Official Visit of Grand Master Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre in Republic of Benin
Rome, 22 January 2020 – Grand Master Fra’ Giacomo Della Torre begins his official visit today in the Republic of Benin, the West African state with which the Order of Malta has enjoyed diplomatic relations since 1972. Accompanied by a delegation of the Order – including the Grand Chancellor, the Grand Hospitaller and the President of the French Association – Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre will be received tomorrow, Thursday 23rd January, by Patrice Talon, President of the Republic of Benin.
During his four days in Benin the Grand Master will visit the Order of Malta’s hospital in Djougou. With a staff of almost 200 doctors and nurses and 140 beds, the hospital is the only one in the region to have surgery rooms. In 2018, some 11 thousand people were hospitalized and over 3 thousand babies were born. Besides surgery, gynaecology, ophthalmology and general medicine, the hospital – run since 1974 by Ordre de Malte France – is specialised in paediatrics and in healthcare for women and children. In 1997, the Djougou hospital opened the “Maison Marigot” department for mothers and babies to prevent infant mortality, improve eating habits and reduce malnutrition. The hospital also runs mobile clinics that regularly visit the more isolated regions to offer medical aid.
The Order of Malta also supports 10 medical centres in various towns in the country and three dispensaries. The facilities employ a local staff of some 280 professionals.
During his visit to Benin, the Grand Master will visit the Ste Elisabeth de la Trinité dispensary at Cotonou, the largest city in Benin, situated along the south-east coast.
The Order of Malta’s embassy in Benin is actively engaged in supporting its medical activities, in particular by importing medicines and medical equipment.
The Grand Master and the President of Benin last met in May 2018, when Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre received Patrice Talon on an official visit to the Grand Magistry.