A SHORT HISTORY
The Baptist Hospital of Ferkessédougou is a religious institution. Dr. Charles Beal, an American missionary developed the first medical facility of Baptist Mission of Ferké. The colonial French administration granted an area of about 9 acres for the development of medical and surgical activities.
Unfortunately, in 1958, the hospital had to close owing to the leaving of Dr. Beal due to health problems.
In 1962, four years later, John and Dwight M. Slater who were both doctors and surgeons fled from Congo and settled in the savannah region of Côte d’Ivoire where they developed the Baptist Hospital of Ferké. Another surgeon, Dr. S. Dillinger joined them in 1968 and gradually the success of the hospital is based on its important surgical activity and its Christian commitment.
Then a great number of missionaries and volunteers arrived. They came from the USA and Europe. They were general practitioners or experts, doctors, pharmacists, maintenance agents, assistants, librarians …with one goal – the physical and spiritual healing of crowds led by God to the Baptist Hospital of Ferkessédougouu.
In the course of the first years patients were offered medical care in buildings made of bricks, but the aspect of the hospital has changed now. Every ten years, a new modern building is added to enlarge the hospital. Now the hospital complex includes 13 buildings with 6 devoted to the hospitalization of patients.
61 hospitalization beds are available in this “therapeutic village” which includes buildings designed respectively for surgery, radiology, drugstores, the clinic, the laboratory and its bank of blood, medical care, the devotion room, the bookshop and the administration.
Now, the staff of the hospital includes only three vocational missionaries (2 American nurses and 1 Congolese doctor). The remainder, the rest of the team that is to say 137 members of the staff comes from Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Chad and Benin. More than 70 per cent of the staff (the doctors and the surgeons, laboratory agents, the pharmacist, the anesthetist and the biologist) was trained by the hospital using its own financial resources.
The Baptist Hospital of Ferkessédougou takes care of 40,000 patients every year and dispenses primary and secondary medical care at affordable prices, respectful of their cultural diversity, regardless of their origin or belief.
Patients come from all the areas of the Côte d’Ivoire and even from neighboring countries. They suffer from various diseases and wounds. Malaria and other infections, nasty wounds and AIDS are, of course, very common here and in West Africa, but there are also cases of hypertension, diabetes, allergy and barrenness.
The Community Health Program of Ferké does various awareness heightening activities (hygiene, health, AIDS, fighting back excision, etc.) in the very town of Ferké and the surrounding villages. Every week, some vaccination sessions are organized for mothers and babies on the station.
A social worker supports the patients in urgent situation. He provides patients and families with moral and psychological support if necessary while the almoner chairs prayers and evangelization programs in favor of the staff and the users of the hospital.
At the Baptist Hospital of Ferké, we have been taking care of patients for more than 60 years, but it is God who heals them.