Cote d’Ivoire has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world. In Braffoueby – a small, rural village located fifty miles northwest of the capital, the community faces chronic poverty and a crippling health care system resulting from years of civil war.
Qualified doctors and educated and skilled midwives in the region are few, and finding health care centers equipped with the basics like gloves, water, and electricity is an even greater challenge. Women lack preventive care and births are often un-attended resulting in an alarming rate of women and children dying in labor due to complications. HIV/AIDS, malaria, diarrhea and other diseases also dominate, creating unsafe and unsanitary conditions for women and children who have minimal access to the benefits of disease treatment and proper nutrition.
CHANGE STARTS WITH A CLINIC
In 2009, founder Patrica Mertz committed to addressing these barriers for Braffoueby’s women and children. She first witnessed the tragic consequences of poverty and lack of medical care during her service in the Peace Corps in Braffoueuby. Although removed from the area in 2002 due to civil war, Patsy returned to the United States resolute to the commitments she made to the women and children of Cote d’Ivoire.
For years Patsy mobilized a legion of generous supporters to raise funds for the construction the Patricia Nau Clinic, named after her mother. The clinic’s labor and delivery ward and wing for its dispensary completed in 2013 and that same year the clinic’s first baby was born. The clinic, overseen by an onsite management committee, is a semi-private and fee-based facility that is fully equipped with electricity, it’s own well to prevent water shortage, and an inventory of medical supplies and often difficult to procure equipment. Financial and in-kind donations are building the capacity of the clinic to scale it’s reach in the community and to provide the most reliable and effective services possible.
Today ICMC’s focus and support provides funding to help women access life-saving preventive and obstetric care to fight maternal and infant mortality; supports training opportunities to advance the knowledge and skills of the clinic’s dedicated midwives and nurses; and provides community-based education and outreach initiatives to tackle preventive diseases like typhoid and diarrhea.
ICMC’s proven impact is based on a foundation of working with local leaders, the Ministry of Health, and a network of local health clinics and NGOs. With a continued commitment to educating women about their health rights and implementing life-saving interventions, ICMC is devoted to helping The Patricia Nau Clinic thrive and support future generations.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS, United States
Ivory Coast Mothers and Children is governed by a committed and active US-based Board of Directors responsible for the organization’s financial management and strategic direction:
Chair & President, Anna Erlandson / President, Definitive Communications
Treasurer, Kevin Kelly / Director, D&S Communications
Secretary, Allyson Dykhuizen / Founder, Holla Knits
Executive Director, Patrica Mertz / Founder of ICMC
PATRICIA NAU CLINIC MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE, Cote d’Ivoire
The Patricia Nau Clinic is overseen by a management committee made up of community leaders and clinic staff to steer the progress and success of the clinic’s daily operations, accounting, and evaluation of the community’s health needs.
Paulin Nguessan Howell
Konan Theodore Yao
Maxelysee Kouaho (Oscar)
Kre Felix Mel
Kre Marc Mel
Abodje Bogbehin Osee