Health in Taabo: FAIRMED’s mission comes to a successful end
Access to health care is one of the biggest challenges faced by people living in rural Africa. In this regard, Ivory Coast is certainly no exception. In January 2018, after almost a decade of activity, the «Santé Taabo» project in Ivory Coast was officially transferred to local authorities marking the successful end of the project.
When FAIRMED launched the «Santé Taabo» project in Ivory Coast, the local authorities were at the earliest stages in their efforts to establish a functioning health system. Alongside, the political and military crises that occurred between 2002 and 2010 placed an additional burden on the already fragile health infrastructure. The rural population in particular had few options as regards basic medical care. On the one hand, this was because the government had not constructed the necessary treatment facilities. On the other, it was a matter of geographical distance. Very long routes, sometimes with huge rivers to cross, made journeys to the nearest health centre enormously difficult for the rural population.
Ready for a healthy future
A great deal has changed for the better since the start of the project. Together with local authorities and the people themselves, FAIRMED has succeeded in reducing the infant mortality rate and improving the health of the general population. With the assistance of FAIRMED, it has been possible to construct eleven health centres with basic medical facilities. These are a base for state-certified health workers, who work to ensure the health of the population through the provision of basic treatments. Moreover, in the different villages, FAIRMED has trained a total of 72 voluntary health workers and health assistants in basic treatments, and has equipped them with simple dispensaries. FAIRMED has also provided the community with two boats for quick and safe transportation of people in need of health care.
Living independent lives
Apart from infrastructure and trained personnel, FAIRMED above all was committed to the prevention and control of diseases. Under the guidance of FAIRMED, village communities have learned how to improve their own hygiene situation. By constructing latrines in the villages and by safeguarding access to clean drinking water, it has been possible to reduce infant mortality and the number of people suffering from diarrheal diseases caused by parasites. Today, the communities recognise the importance of good hygiene, and as a result they are living healthier lives.
Throughout, FAIRMED has encouraged the local communities to organise themselves politically so that their health needs are answered even after FAIRMED is no longer directly involved. Here, support was provided to 14 communities in the establishment of committees that will ongoingly represent their respective interests and needs at the political level.
Entirely in local hands
A final workshop was held on the close of the project on 26 January 2018, during which all participants formally adopted the project and officially approved the handover to the local authorities. It is now up to the Ivorian administrative bodies to build on and expand these achievements. Although further challenges remain, the FAIRMED project has laid the groundwork for a healthy future.