In the Derklé neighborhood of Dakar, Le Korsa and Dr. Juliette Faye have established Keur Dijiguene Yi — in Wolof, “a gathering place for women” — the first free, public, and government-sanctioned women’s health center in Dakar. There, Dr. Faye, an OBGYN who trained at the University of Dakar, offers complete reproductive and gynecological care for women, including pre- and post-natal exams, as well as crucial education on contraception, family planning, HIV prevention, nutrition, infant immunization, and other issues central to women’s health.
The center covers the cost of care and prescriptions for those women who cannot afford it, providing an essential service to an underserved population. The majority of Dr. Faye’s patients earn little to no income, and without the center would only be able to see a nurse or a midwife in a small health outpost, and likely do so only once throughout their pregnancy due to their inability to pay for further services. At Keur Djiguene Yi, for no cost, patients can have the four prenatal exams recommended for pregnant women by the World Health Organization, as well as a sonogram during each visit. Dr. Faye and her staff plan all appointments with their patients, and are available to answer any questions and respond to emergencies 24/7. Importantly, the center is located in a large house near the terminus of one of Dakar’s major bus lines, making it easily accessible to both women in the urban center and those coming from the surrounding suburbs. Dr. Faye also provides cervical cancer screening and lesion removal to patients, and offers basic pediatric care to any children who accompany their mothers to the center.
Keur Djiguene Yi is also unique in having Dr. Faye, a female OBGYN, as its doctor and director. Because of cultural and religious traditions in Senegal, many men will not permit their wives to see a male gynecologist, who are the majority in Dakar. Many women also prefer to see a female doctor. The knowledge of Dr. Faye’s presence at the center has thus traveled extensively by word of mouth, and she and her staff are frequently overwhelmed by requests for appointments.
Dr. Faye has already seen hundreds of patients since the center opened part-time in January 2016. Her goals, which Le Korsa wholeheartedly supports, are to open the center full-time and at full-capacity, which would entail hiring a second female gynecologist; hiring a pediatrician; and further renovating the space to provide a play-area for children, as well as a conference room for meetings, trainings and workshops.