Former Chelsea star Didier Drogba has offered his hospital in Ivory Coast to be used as a coronavirus treatment centre, as the country prepare for a huge jump in cases.
The hospital – that is based in the city of Abidjan – opened in 2016 and is named after former Ivory Coast footballer Laurent Pokou, who passed away in the same year it opened. The current outbreak of COVID-19 has remained manageable across Africa, however, there are fears the deadly virus is about to spread much more rapidly.
Drogba has been recognised for his ‘patriotic gesture’ from Vincent Toh Bi Irie, the head of Abidjan’s regional council, who said the hospital will help them fight the disease.
‘We thank Drogba for this gift considered as an act of patriotism,’ Toh Bi said.
The first case of coronavirus was recorded in the country on March 11 and since there have been 574 people diagnosed with the virus and five have died.
Across the entire continent, the health care systems are not as strong as the ones in the UK or USA and Simon Antara, of the African Field Epidemiology Network, explained: ‘We are preparing for disaster.’
Therefore, many believe African countries are still in grave danger of becoming the most effected in the world with isolation and quarantine predicted to not have the same impact on ‘flattening the curve’ of the virus.
The Ivorian’s hospital is part of the Didier Drogba Foundation, that was set up by the former Chelsea striker to provide financial and material support in both health and education to people across Africa.
Drogba scored 65 goals for Ivory Coast in 105 appearances for his country.