Pose de la première pierre de la maternité de l’hôpital baptiste de Nkwen
DISCOURS DE S.E. MME CHRISTINE ROBICHON,
AMBASSADRICE DE FRANCE AU CAMEROUN
A L’OCCASION DE LA POSE DE LA PREMIERE PIERRE DE LA MATERNITE DE NKWEN
(CAMEROUN BAPTIST CONVENTION - CBC)
BAMENDA, LE 28 SEPTEMBRE 2015
The Senior Divisional Officer for Mezam,
The Reverent Executive President of Cameroon Baptist Convention,
The Director of Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Board,
Administrators of CBC and CBC Health Board, Nkwen Baptist Health Center,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, let me thank you for hosting me today. Your warm welcome is a demonstration of Bamenda’s long tradition of hospitality. I take it also as an indication of how well patients are welcomed at your health center every day.
We are here to break new ground today – both concretely and symbolically. The foundation stone that we will soon lay together marks a new phase in the contribution of France to Cameroon’s health sector. By building a partnership with the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Board, France is not only increasing its support to healthcare but also reaching out to civil society through one of its greatest actor.
As you know, Cameroon faces daunting challenges with regard to public health. For too many women, giving birth is hazardous and difficult. Recent statistics have shown that maternal mortality has sharply risen during the past years, reaching 782 deaths for every one hundred thousand (100,000) births in 2011 (last available figure). Mothers are at risk and infants also : in 2014, for every 1,000 live births, 59 babies died before reaching one year of age. As the population keep growing, more efforts are needed to protect families from such a tragedy. In thirty years of time, the country’s population will have doubled from 22 to 44 million. This means that millions of new mothers and babies will be needing a safe place to receive medical care. It is up to all of us to provide them with one.
How can we make this happen ? The government has shown the way by highlighting that more births should be attended by skilled professionals. Today, one birth out of three takes place without the presence of a medical professional. By investing now in maternities, medical equipment, and affordable health services, we can make sure that every mother is taken care of in the future. This won’t happen overnight but we must sow these seeds now.
To do so, France has been working with Cameroon diligently. Since 2006, France, through funds provided by the French Development Agency or by the Disinvestment and Development Program (C2D) have invested over 60 billion CFA to scale up access to healthcare.
These efforts have been led in close partnership with the Ministry of Health and its decentralized services. But as you surely know, 40% of healthcare delivered in the country are provided by private institutions. These private actors come from every corner of society – churches, civil organizations and private ventures. They often stand on the very front line of the fight for better health. It is therefore the profound conviction of France and Cameroon that in this battle against sickness, death and sorrow ; we should all continue to stand shoulder to shoulder.
In that respect, I am honored to be here today to celebrate a new step in our partnership with Cameroon Baptist Convention - Health Board. CBC-HB truly embodies the best civil society can offer in Cameroon. By providing quality health care in rural areas to all categories of population, CBC-HB has helped over one million patients last year. Among them, ten thousand women were able to give birth in safe conditions. The quality, availability and compassion of its staff does not need to be proven anymore. It humbles us all.
This is why supporting CBC-HB is an evidence for France. The direct loan provided by the French Development Agency to CBC will allow them to expand and improve services in 4 hospitals and 4 Health centers.
Close to a hundred thousand patients were received in the Nkwen Health Center last year. To better serve this considerable demand, CBC-HB and France have teamed up to build a new facility. Upon completion, this building will house 80 beds, an ante-natal clinic, a women health service as well as a completely new maternity service. It will also house a dental and eye service, turning the Nwken Health Center into a regional “health solution hub” for the population of Bamenda and Mezam.
It is with a profound conviction that France lends its support to this project. We are convinced that it will lead to better health for the children, women and men of the region.
Let me finish by thanking the CBC and CBC Health Board for their passionate commitment and hard work to give every Cameroonian hospitality and better care. Your dedication is an inspiration to all of us.
I wish you all the best in the pursuit of your excellent work and I thank you for your attention.