The Ambassador of Italy, Agostino Palese, and the Head of the AICS office in Addis Ababa, Isabella Lucaferri, recently concluded a mission to Djibouti.
Among the activities, they visited the maternal and child health unit of the Cheiko Hospital in Balbalà, one of the capital’s poorest and most populated areas. The Italian support to the Hospital of Balbalà dates back to 1985, when started the construction of a first maternal and child health center, then renovated in the following years. Today the Hospital, which has become a General Hospital, is equipped with a structure for emergencies, surgery, general medicine, and outpatient clinics.
The health center, thanks to the support of the Italian cooperation, has also been expanded through the construction and renovation of three blocks: Building A, which includes the department of pediatrics, internal medicine and cardiology recognized by the community of Djibouti for the quality of services; Building B, the department of infectious diseases and orthopedic and general surgery; and Building C consisting of pavilions under construction with Djibouti financing.
Thanks to a project supported by AICS and carried out with UNFPA aimed at improving the quality of health services offered in the Hospital, the unit has recently been equipped with modern neonatology equipment.
The initiative has allowed to improve the quality of maternal and child health services through the training of health personnel, especially those employed in the departments of pediatrics and gynecology, the provision of equipment and materials, the installation of software for the Hospital’s administrative and health management. This has made possible the enhancement of the Hospital services and strengthened the ability to respond to health emergencies.
Moreover, last December, AICS provided the Cheiko Hospital of Balbalà with personal protective equipment (PPE) for COVID-19, masks, gloves, disinfectants.
The meeting with the Director of the Hospital has been beneficial to take stock of the results obtained so far and to understand the most urgent needs for the future.
During the mission, the head of the AICS office, also met the partners of the project “Strengthening of child protection systems in Djibouti with focus on migrant children” handed off to UNICEF aimed at increasing and strengthening child protection services.
The meeting highlighted the challenges and needs of vulnerable children living in Djibouti, who are often children on the move, migrants from Ethiopia or more remote areas of the country, and refugees. The project has a budget of 1,000,000 Euros entrusted to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund.
It aims to improve services for children, especially migrants, refugees, and children living on the streets.