CJTF-HOA partners with Djiboutian health officials for remote care
ALLI ADDE, Djibouti (Feb. 26, 2011) – Less than a mile from where the borders of Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia connect, a large crowd celebrated the opening of a much needed health clinic on February 26 in the tiny village of Guistir in the Ali Sabieh District of Djibouti.
The ceremony, hosted by a delegation of Djiboutian and U.S. guests, culminated a $450,000 joint project between Combined Joint Task Force–Horn of Africa (CJTF–HOA) and USAID, in a remote region where access to services previously posed formidable challenges.
The new clinic will serve basic health needs for an estimated 400 families, according to CJTF-HOA project leader Navy Lieutenant John Mietus Jr. "This village had no local means of medical care, so we're very happy to see the doors opening today," he said.
The clinic is part of the Djiboutian Health Ministry’s strategic plan and includes modern delivery rooms, solar and electrical power, and other features.
"This is a very important project which will help many people in this very remote area," said Djiboutian Minister of Health, Abdallah Abdillahi Miguil. "We are very pleased that all the different organizations were able to complete this and now see this wonderful facility opened."
According to the minister, this project partnership will strengthen the Djiboutian government’s ability to improve local health care. "We have a high rate of infant mortality in this area, so we can now address this problem and provide much better care for mothers."
U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti James C. Swan said the successful project was the result of a model partnership. "I'm very proud to represent the U.S. here,” he said. “It was a huge team effort with help from energetic people from the Guitstir village and the Ali Sabieh District. Their hard work made it a reality."
CJTF-HOA Deputy Commander Brigadier General William L. Glasgow attended the ceremony. "This clinic is proof positive of the value of our friendship with the Djiboutian people," he said. “By teaming together, we also promote future collaboration which in turn enhances stability in the region."
USAID Djibouti Representative Stephanie Funk said from 2004 to 2008, the Ministry of Health made many improvements to health care in local rural areas.
“By working together, childhood immunizations rose 300 percent, infant mortality decreased by 50 percent. This clinic not only represents strong coordination between the U.S. Embassy, USAID, and the U.S. Military, it symbolizes the positive results that our partnership with the government of Djibouti can produce,” she said. “In the end, it will save the lives of mothers and children in Guistir as they will have access to health care for the first time ever.”