Tangier’s International Paediatric Centre began treating children in early July. The polyclinic is equipped with the latest diagnostic apparatus, enabling diseases to be diagnosed faster and more cheaply.
The clinic was set up by two Dutch companies, Sanecon BV and HEAP Research BV, jointly with two Moroccan partners. The investment is partly financed through the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs PSI programme.
Healthcare infrastructure opportunities
This is the first paediatric polyclinic in Tangier. Most parents used to bring their children to Rabat or Casablanca. Tangier is a major city in the north of the country. It has developed quickly in the last ten years, with huge infrastructure and employment projects.
However, healthcare development has lagged far behind. A market scan by the Dutch embassy in Rabat has shown interesting opportunities for diagnostic and convalescent care for children in the Tangier area. The polyclinic fills this particular gap.
The driving force behind the children’s diagnostic centre is a Dutch paediatrician of Moroccan origin, Dr Dahhan. He divides his time between AMC hospital in Amsterdam and the polyclinic in Tangier. Through a recently concluded joint cooperation agreement with AMC, ten AMC paediatricians regularly visit Tangier to see patients together with Moroccan colleagues, to train nurses and to discuss difficult cases via tele-consults.
A digital documentation system enables details of cases to be exchanged. Working together and sharing expertise has many advantages for the Moroccan clinic, and is also beneficial to Dutch (trainee) doctors who often treat patients with a Moroccan background in the Netherlands. A deeper insight into Moroccan culture is a great advantage.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way
Coordinator Cibele Alvim notes that you must be strong-willed and determined in order to see a project through in Morocco. The medical sector is subject to numerous rules and regulations, which were being reformed at the time the polyclinic was starting. You have to chase after everything and be constantly present.
Getting Dr Dahhan’s Dutch qualifications recognised in Morocco took a long time, totalling eight months to complete all the necessary the paperwork.
Collaboration, information and sharing expertise
Although the clinic has only just opened, plans for the future are already being made. Dr Dahhan hopes to expand the clinic to provide convalescent care, a dedicated children’s ambulance and a nocturnal reception for children, with incubators for babies. In Morocco there is huge interest in plans for collaboration between local Dutch doctors, hospitals, child care centres and NGOs.
The clinic’s mission is far broader than just serving as a diagnostic centre. In addition to cooperation, information, training and exchanging expertise in paediatric care, a major objective is to combat child abuse and mistreatment.
The clinic will also treat children of parents who have no health insurance. It is expected that some 10 to 15% of patients will be treated free of charge.
Tangier’s International Paediatric Centre was founded with a PSI programme subsidy. PSI encourages high-risk, innovative investments in emerging markets. PSI supports investments from project partners by investing in equipment and expertise.
The programme is no longer open for new applications. Dutch companies looking for funding for investments in developing countries should apply to Dutch Good Growth Fund, (DGGF). The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl) runs both PSI and DGGF on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.