In the aftermath of Côte d’Ivoire’s civil war, the country’s health system was devastated. Infrastructure and supply chains were in ruins, many health facilities were no longer functioning, impacting health service provision at every level. After the war was ended and democratic government restored, in 2012 newly appointed Health Minister, Dr. Raymond Goudou Coffie, was charged with rebuilding the health care system.
“As you can imagine, after the crisis our country experienced, if there was one sector that was the most affected by degraded infrastructure it was the health system.” Minister Coffie said.
When she was first invited to the Harvard Ministerial Forum in 2015, Minister Coffie identified the urgency of increasing national investment in health and finding fiscal space in the budget she already had to continue the task of restoring the national health system. Additionally, she had to concentrate on what she considered the most urgent priorities, notably increasing early childhood immunizations.
Working with the Finance Minister, Dr. Coffie one year after drafting her plan at the Harvard Forum, secured a 6% increase in the national health budget and rolled out a five-year community health strategy, and a national strategy for nursing and maternal healthcare. Additionally, she oversaw development of public-private partnerships for the delivery of reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child healthcare products up to the last kilometer greatly improving maternal care.
Over the six years of her term as Health Minister, Dr.Coffie’s legacy includes increasing the routine early childhood immunization rate back to pre-civil war levels, having dropped from 85% to 62% over the course of the conflict, as well as effectively managing the threat of ebola when a case arose out of the neighboring crisis in Liberia, and eradicating guinea worm and polio in Cote d’Ivoire.
In subsequent years, Dr. Coffie’s effectiveness has ensured her a continued Ministerial role in different portfolios to date. For her significant legacy in government she was awarded the 2022 Harvard Ministerial Medal of Achievement in a ceremony during the June Ministerial Forum at Harvard.