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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
04DJIBOUTI335 2004-03-09 14:02:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Djibouti
Cable title:  

DJIBOUTI SPECTACLE AT PELTIER HOSPITAL

Tags:   PREL PM EAID PINR KHIV AFIN DJ 
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					UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DJIBOUTI 000335 

SIPDIS

STATE PASS TO USAID, PARIS FOR NEARY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PM EAID PINR KHIV AFIN DJ
SUBJECT: DJIBOUTI SPECTACLE AT PELTIER HOSPITAL

SUMMARY
--------



1. (U) Djibouti's Minister of Health, Mohamed Ali Kamil,
along with French Ambassador Phillipe Selz, inaugurated on
March 7 a new wing at Djibouti's public hospital, Peltier.
The French financed surgical wing also has UN HIV/AIDS blood
testing equipment and an imaging scanner donated by
Djibouti's first lady, Kadra Haid. Djiboutian President
Ismail Omar Guelleh attended with his remarkable security
entourage in tow. End Summary.

THE EVENT


--------------------------





2. (U) Djibouti's Minister of Health, Mohamed Ali Kamil,
invited Djibouti's political cream to attend an inauguration
ceremony for a new wing at the capital city's public
hospital, Peltier, located only five hundred yards from the
U.S. Embassy. Kamil, the acting UN resident representative,
UNICEF Director Keith Mckenzie, and the French Ambassador,
Phillipe Selz, all spoke. Kamil and Mckenzie both offered
forward leaning words on Djibouti's HIV/AIDS efforts. Selz,
in his first Djiboutian public appearance, concentrated on
continued French commitment to Djibouti.

PELTIER


--------------------------





3. (U) A vestige of French colonial occupation, Djibouti
City's public hospital's roots date back to 1897 and the
creation of a health unit for the French "Enterprise Generale
de Construction" charged with building the Djibouti-Ethiopian
railway. The hospital takes its name from the French Chief
Doctor who directed it from the 1930's until his death in


1955. Hospital officials report that Peltier has a capacity
of 603 beds of which 401 are functional. Amongst locals and
expats alike the Peltier of today has a poor reputation. In
recent years, the "Cooperation Francaise" has diminished its
human resource presence at the hospital to almost zero.
This, in conjunction with poor administration and
questionable budgetary allocations, has led to the rapid
deterioration of facilities and services. Nearly all of
Peltier's 45 state employed physicians run private,
unlicensed clinics out of their homes, reportedly with public
Peltier resources. Embassy FSNs report that Peltier is
viewed as a "last resort" if locals do not have the financial
means to pay for private or French military services.



4. (U) In spite of these shortcomings, the new 263 million
Djibouti Franc (nearly 1.5 million U.S.$) French financed
surgical wing is impressive. The imaging scanner (to perform
MRI's for example) donated by Djibouti's first lady is the
first of its kind in Djibouti's public sector. The blood
screening equipment that is part of the UN-funded AIDS
campaign is technologically critical to Health Minister
Kamil's announcement that Djibouti will begin retroviral
treatment for its "3%" infected AIDS population. The question
that UN and Embassy health workers ask remains one of
maintenance and upkeep for these pricey additions to the
maligned institution.

A PRESIDENTIAL APPEARANCE


--------------------------





5. (SBU) President Guelleh arrived at the slated 9:00 a.m.
ceremony in royal fashion. The hospital site, located on the
exclusive Heron peninsula between the French and U.S.
Embassies, was closed to the public several hours before the
ceremony began by approximately 200 of the President's elite
"Republican Guard." The sharply dressed Guard (in U.S.
styled custom battle dress uniforms) occupied critical
rooftop sniper locations and provided perimeter security for
the event. At 9:30 the first lady arrived with her two
vehicle escort and 8 body guards to chants and drumming from
her pre-installed cheering section. At 9:45 8 shiny BMW
motorcycles roared into the hospital compound with blaring
horns and flashing lights to clear the path for the
President's motorpool. The lead GMC suburban dusted the
seated crowd as two snipers jumped from the rear jump
platform and a cadre of body guards in Nyerere-style African
two piece suits with secret service ear plugs secured the red
carpet for Guelleh's Mercedes sedan. The trail GMC suburban
then unloaded its body guards who secured the President's
exit and approach to the seated assembly. When Guelleh was
seated in his cushioned recliner an aide installed a coffee
table in front of him and served him a glass of chilled water
covered in foil and a cup of coffee in gold plated trim.
POLOFF counted 18 personal bodyguards attached to the
President in addition to the motorcycle escort and the
Republican Guard.

COMMENT


--------------------------





6. (U) The inauguration ceremony presided over by Peltier
Director Aden Mohamed Dileita, brother of Prime Minister
Dileita Mohamed Dileita, was impressive. The modern
equipment and progressive speeches on HIV/AIDS were
heartening. Having visited patients at Peltier previously
however, one wonders if resources to maintain the new
facilities and equipment will be available. It is not clear
if or how much of France's investment in the wing will be
devoted to maintenance. End Comment.
RAGSDALE