Benin – SOS Medical and Social Centres

In Benin there is currently two Social Centres and two Medical-Social Centres for children and the local community, in Natitingou, Abomey-Calavi and Dassa Zoume.  Many SOS Social Centres operate via Family Strengthening Programmes, which aim to support the wider community. Medical Centres provide treatment and services to the local community. Below is some information about some of the Centres that SOS Children runs in Benin:

SOS Social Centres around Benin: In-Depth

SOS Social Centre Abomey Calavi, BeninAbomey-Calavi

Description of SOS Social Centre/FSP:

The family strengthening programme offers access to essential services for children’s development (eg. educational, nutritional, health support, social skills) and supports families to protect and care for their children. The programme also aims at linking families with income generating activities and offers help to improve the parents’ parenting skills.

Work and Achievements:

Apart from the family strengthening programme (FSP) participants, the SOS Social Centre Abomey-Calavi cared for 102 beneficiaries in 2009 compared to 376 in 2008 which is a 72.87% drop due to the social centre’s alignment process to the SOS Programme Policy. However, the number of people soliciting the social centre has been constantly growing since 2008 due to the world financial and food crisis. From an average of 10 persons served per week in 2008, these attendances increased to 15 visits per week in 2009. Aside from the FSP child participants, the social centre provided scholarships to an additional 40 children.

Psychological support and counseling was offered to 35 children and youths, including 24 from the SOS Children’s Village and 11 from the community, on the basis of regular interviews and follow-up. Two youths from SOS’ Children’s Village Abomey-Calavi were referred to psychiatric specialists including one referred to a child psychiatrist. Four (4) other youths with health concerns in connection with neurology, cardiology, ophthalmology, and traumatology, were referred to specialists in said fields


Descripition of SOS Social Centre/FSP:

An SOS Social Centre, opened in June 2004, aims to support people who have been infected with the HIV virus and their families (their children in particular). The SOS Social Centre can provide help to 100 children from families in need. In addiction to that, it raises awareness of the HIV virus among the people from neighbouring areas. It also provides people or families affected by the virus with food and supports them financially and materially (scholarships for children and one-off donations from school material and school uniforms).

SOS Medical-Social Centres around Benin: In-Depth

Dassa Zoume

Description of SOS Medical-Social Centre:

An SOS Medical-Social Centre was finally built to offer the local people and people from the neighbourhood family support, effective medical care and also to promote various preventive measures (such as awareness of the HIV virus). It consists of two classrooms, a multi-purpose room, an administrative block and it has an examination room, a treatment room, an analysis laboratory, a dispensary, a sterile room and a reception and administration block to provide medical care. Around 12,000 people a year can be seen and treated there.

Work and Achievements:

The SOS Medical-Social Centre of Dassa-Zoumè works as a municipal health center whose option relates to internal medicine and pediatrics. It has a significant impact on the communities of Dassa-Zoumè and on the SOS Children’s Village Dassa-Zoume facilities. A total of 2,356 beneficiaries visited it at least once during the year 2009 against 2,581 in 2008, these numbers reflecting a 4.34% drop. Among this year’s beneficiaries there were 113 children from the village (66 boys and 47 girls), 1,023 children from the community (563 boys and 460 girls), and 1,220 adults (552 men and 668 women).

In terms of epidemiology, 3,551 cases of diseases were recorded and treated this year, against 2,287 in 2008. The five most common ailments were as follows:

- Malaria: 36% of all cases, including 5% of severe cases and 9% confirmed biologically  

- Acute respiratory infections: 18% of which 15% are upper respiratory infections

- Gastro-intestinal problems: 7%

- Skin lesions: 6%

- Injuries: 5%


Description of SOS Medical-Social Centre:

The SOS Medical-Social Center (MSC) of Natitingou was not yet in operation as of December 31, 2009.  However, it should be mentioned that in preparation for the actual implementation of the centre, which is planned for 2010, several activities have been accomplished to this end.  These include:

-    Construction completion of the building that will house the services of the medical and social centre of Natitingou;

-    Equipment has been ordered and acquired (medical devices and vehicle) to enable the proper operation of the centre.  The 4x4 pick up vehicle has already been acquired before the move to promote activities of Natitingou’s social-medical centre.  Two containers of medical supplies ordered are expected for the first months of 2010.

-    Eight staff members have been recruited.  These include a laboratory technician, nurse’s aide, pharmacist, nurse, secretary, cashier, accountant, cleaner, and driver. The recruitment process of the centre’s director is currently underway.

-    All staff members have been oriented and trained.  These individuals have also received an orientation on SOS Children’s Villagess mission and objectives as an organization with specific training in each of their area of expertise.  This has strengthened the staff’s ability for better accomplishing their missions.