The Italian Cooperation has been working for over two decades towards improving the living conditions of the Djibouti population, with particular regard to the health sector.
Since 1980 Italy has been involved in the management, training and expansion of services offered by the Hospital of Balbala, today's health reference center of the country. The initiative involves a considerable investment over the last thirty years (about 20 million euros), allowing a significant improvement in the delivery of basic health services and an increase of specific services (monitoring and care of chronic diseases, child & maternal services and therapy in a hyperbaric chamber) that make the hospital a center of excellence in the entire Horn of Africa.
Currently, the main activity of the Italian Cooperation concerns the reconstruction of the existing hospital structure, its expansion with the construction of a new ward for hospitalization and its equipment (supplies and training on new equipment), with an overall investment of over 9 million euros.
In the health sector, a 2.2 million initiative has been approved for the promotion of maternal and child health, with particular emphasis on female genital mutilation (FGM), which includes, as main implementing organization, the NIHMP – the National Institute for the Health Promotion of Migrant Populations and the contrast of Poverty Diseases, linked to the Hospital of San Gallicano in Rome. The program, due to start shortly, will train about 300 public sector’s health workers over three years and the beneficiaries will be about 20% of both Djibouti and Somalia populations, due to the proximity of the border.
200,000 Euros intervention was also approved, in favor of Balbala Hospital, for the provision of medical supplies in order to address the recent humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa that has produced a greater flow of refugees from neighbouring countries.
Italy participates in the debt conversion and restructuring initiative in favor of the Republic of Djibouti. The Debt Conversion Agreement, concluded in February 2006 and amended in June 2009, has converted a large proportion of the debt owed by the country against Italy (over 14 million out of about 50 in total).