The country’s health system is one of the weakest in Africa, with only one medical doctor per 10,000 inhabitants, and a lack of medical infrastructure.
Epilepsy and mental health are stigmatised and little-diagnosed in Côte d'Ivoire. MSF teams work in Gbêkê region, in the country’s centre, to improve access to mental healthcare, and diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy, at clinics.
In Abidjan, our teams screen people at the community level for both COVID-19 and for malaria, referring people to vaccination centres for the former, and providing treatment for mild cases of the latter.
MSF also works to provide consultations via telemedicine – the practice of providing medical consultations via communication technologies – to patients, to improve access to healthcare.
The political situation in Côte d’Ivoire was relatively stable during 2021. However, the growing threat of armed groups in the bordering countries of Burkina Faso and Mali has led to the official designation of the northeastern part of the country as a risk zone. On 10 June 2021, the International Academy for the Fight against Terrorism in Côte d’Ivoire was created to overcome a possible security crisis.
This stable environment has enabled MSF to launch two new projects; the first in Bouaké, focusing on mental health and epilepsy, and the second in Agboville, where we have set up a telemedicine service to improve access to care. The telemedicine project is being conducted in close collaboration with surrounding communities, local humanitarian organisations and the Ivorian government.
We continued our emergency interventions, in particular in response to malaria, floods and communal violence between Ivorian and Nigerian communities. Our activities included distributing relief items, such as cooking equipment and hygiene kits, staff training and donations of equipment and medicines to support hospitals in Abengourou and Bongouanou.
We also supported the national response to the third wave of COVID-19, providing screening and referrals for vaccinations. For two months, starting in February, we carried out telemedicine screening for non-communicable diseases, including hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and respiratory failure, for anyone who wanted to know their risk of contracting a severe form of the virus.
Finally, when the Ebola epidemic was suspected to have arrived in the country on 14 August, MSF provided nutritional and psychological support to contacts of patients thought to have contracted the disease, at the request of the National Institute of Public Hygiene and the World Health Organization.