(Reporting from Abidjan). Ivory Coast’s international soccer hero Didier Drogba will finance the building of five hospitals in his country of birth in the cities of Abidjan, Yamoussoukro, Man, Korhogo and San Pedro, Drogba Foundation executive secretary Guy Roland Tanoh told the press yesterday in the commercial capital Abidjan.
By launching these health centres, the former Chelsea maestro who is now plying his trade at Galatasaray in Turkey will bring a much-needed relief to the deteriorating healthcare system of his country, which is still recovering from the post-electoral violence of 2011.
Tanoh said: “The initial plan was to build one hospital in Abidjan, but we decided to launch some more in various cities across Ivory Coast. This is his way of making a valuable contribution to his country of birth by helping heal the sick.”
Several companies are also willing to form partnerships with Drogba to make the project work efficiently, Tanoh added.
Drogba’s name is a fast-selling brand, he said, adding that during the third anniversary of the foundation, the organisation raised funds to the tune of over US$40 000. Drogba is also the African ambassador for the United Nations for Development Programme (UNDP).
Ivory Coast, a West African nation of 22 million people, produces 40% of the world’s cocoa. But most of its people live in extreme poverty, and survive with less than 2 dollars per day.
Most people, now in their 40s and 50s long for the days of Felix Houphouet Boigny’s rule, when apparently ‘money circulated like leaves falling from the tree’.
Boigny is the first president of Ivory Coast.
“Those days are now gone, and the country has fallen in hard times, especially during the war, ” schoolteacher Richard Yao (45) told Moon of the South. “The war is not good, many people now regret and would not like to see that happen again here.
“Everything is down, investors are shying away from the country, and unemployment is high. In short, the war is a real killer, ” he concluded.