Q&A with GBANTA LAURENT, PRESIDENT BLUE CROSS IVORY COASTGBANTA LAURENTPRESIDENT BLUE CROSS IVORY COAST
1. Why is the work of the Blue Cross important to you?
The work done by Blue Cross is important for us because it allows us to offer a humanitarian service as an NGO. We are given the opportunity to support human development regarding issues of health and security.
2. Are you convinced of the impact of your work – if so, which aspects?
Following intervention by Blue Cross, I have observed a change in behavior of ex-combatants who had been involved in the armed conflicts in our country. I have also seen patients change their lives after our treatment and their families keep expressing their gratitude to us. Some schools praise us for the change in their students’ attitude towards drugs, when previously they had ignored the risk due to misconceptions.
3. What was your happiest moment during your time with Blue Cross?
After a long interruption due to the damage inflicted by the post-electoral crisis, hospitalization of drug users in the « Centre d’Accueil » run by Blue Cross was resumed. This is something we are very happy about.
4. What is/was your biggest challenge in your work for Blue Cross?
We are trying to reposition Blue Cross Ivory Coast on the national and international playing field following the decline in activity due to the post-electoral crisis and the arrival of other organizations active in the fight against drugs.
5. Blue Cross in your country: What do you consider your most important project?
I would choose the Resocialization Project which we carry out in partnership with the state of Ivory Coast, through two bodies set up by the National Security Council which is directly linked to the President of the Republic. Blue Cross participated in the resocialization of ex-combatants in 2014-2016 with the ADDR (Autorité pour le Désarmement, la Démobilisation et la Réintégration – authority for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration). Presently, we contribute to the resocialization of minors who have come into conflict with the law, by offering screening, on-site medical and psychological care and especially prevention. The latter is achieved by the teaching of Life Skills, together with the CCSR (Cellule de Coordination, de Suivi et de Réinsertion / center for coordination, monitoring and rehabilitation).