Two Champions for the Ayame Community in Côte d'Ivoire
December 13, 2010
In October, several colleagues and I visited the Foundation-supported Ayame General Hospital in Côte d’Ivoire
, several hours to the south east of Abidjan. The facility was incredible; it is clean, and has warm and enthusiastic staff working hard towards the integration of services, ensuring that they innovate and make the most of what is available to them.
There we met two amazing doctors – Dr. Jeanne Mbo and Dr. Annie Diokouri – who are serving as champions for those living with HIV in Ayame.
A mother and daughter wait to be seen by a doctor at
Ayame General Hospital.
Every Wednesday, Dr. Mbo goes into a village in a team of three as part of the hospital’s outreach to the communities that reside in the district. The team visits communities on a weekly basis to provide voluntary counseling and testing, nutritional counseling, and preventive and curative services, and they are working towards providing vaccinations, too. Through this outreach program, the team reaches those who are in need but cannot afford the high transportation costs to get to the hospital.
Dr. Mbo is a graduate from the School of Medicine of the University of Cocody-Abidjan, which partners with the Foundation to support students on internships at Foundation’s sites
“These are the next set of champions,” said Dr. Joseph Essombo, the Foundation’s Côte d’Ivoire Country Director, and indeed they are.
“Dr. Mbo served as an intern at Ayame from 2007 to 2009, and returned following her graduation to serve at the hospital. This is a clear testament to the fact that the program is inspiring young professionals to give back to the community.”
Another inspiring individual is Dr. Annie Diokouri, a pediatrician who is the coordinator of HIV services at the Ayame General hospital. Under her guidance, every point through which a patient gains entry into the hospital serves as an HIV integration point – providing an opportunity to encourage every patient to take an HIV test.
Doctors, nurses, and Foundation staff at Ayame
The last of these entry points – the immunization of children – is now under construction to ensure that these very important services are available there, too. All patients who are HIV-positive are now also screened for TB as part of their integration program.
Dr. Diokouri visits the local orphanage three times a week to provide pediatric support to children who are there, and is always available in case of emergencies. This orphanage, home to 52 children, has 10 HIV-positive babies. Dr. Annie’s outreach visits to the orphanage saves countless trips to the hospital that the orphanage would need to arrange on its own.
These two doctors are extraordinary, going beyond their call of duty to serve the Ayame community. And they are also contributing to the Foundation’s mission of eliminating pediatric HIV. They are indeed champions for us to watch.
Rhoda Igweta is a Senior Public Policy and Advocacy Officer for Africa for the Foundation, based in Nairobi, Kenya.