Ten years ago, Dr. Bernard Kadio, faculty member in the Division of Health Sciences, had the idea to build a Christian hospital in the Ivory Coast. This year’s Bible Conference $200K offering will help him achieve that goal.
Kadio is from the Ivory Coast, so it seemed natural to him to start there. Kadio wants the hospital to be a gamechanger in the Ivory Coast. “We would like the Christian Health Center not only to provide care but also to provide training for healthcare professionals with a Christian background and perspective,” Kadio said.
Hope Christian Health Center will be part health center and part hospital. “We are starting a new model, both for Christian ministry but also for health,” Kadio said. No one else has implemented this comprehensive model that combines these different areas of expertise.
Kadio has 22 years of experience in medical missions and teaching and is confident heading the project. “I know what works and what doesn’t,” Kadio said.
The hospital will have three different departments: MNCH (maternal, newborn, child health), Men’s Health, and Mental Well Being and Spiritual. It will also have a school to train nurses and workers for the hospital. They will open the MNCH department first and open the other departments gradually within three to four years.
Hope already has land located in Grand Bassam in the Ivory Coast, medical equipment, construction materials and even people planning the hospital. They are still in need of staff as well as $200,000 to build and open the hospital.
The hospital will focus on treating conditions while the health center will focus on maintaining health and preventing disease. The health center will offer checkups, screenings and vaccinations as well as provide education in health. At the education center, patients will be able to attend classes and gain knowledge about health and behavioral issues. Classes will be offered on subjects such as malnutrition, maternal and newborn health, addiction, spiritual issues and much more.
Kadio wants the hospital to address maternal mortality among other issues. The Ivory Coast has the highest rate of maternal mortality in West Africa, with 618 deaths to every million live births. In comparison, the U.S. maternal mortality rate is 17 deaths to every million live births.
“When I was working with [the Ivory Coast] government, I saw mothers dying because they didn’t have $10 to pay for the hospital bill,” Kadio said. “I have seen children dying from diseases that don’t even exist anymore [in the U.S.] because people have been so successful in treating them, yet those diseases are still killing children in West Africa.”
Kadio has been working towards his goal for 10 years. He saved up enough to buy 11 acres in the Ivory Coast and donated it to the hospital. “Even some Christian brothers thought I was crazy. They said ‘You could have used that money for something else,’ but I didn’t have peace to use that money for anything else,” Kadio said. Hope Christian Hospital now has seven groups, seven churches and three universities (including BJU) supporting it.
“I saw mothers dying because they didn’t have $10 to pay for the hospital bill.” -Dr. Kadio
“I’ve been receiving emails from students saying ‘Dr. Kadio, we are with you,’” Kadio said. “The reaction is amazing how the community grasped the idea and adopted it.” Kadio originally wanted to open the hospital by 2025 but has been able to move the timeline to 2022 due to the momentum coming from the community. “That’s a big encouragement,” Kadio said.
Kadio wants the hospital to see a minimum of 15,000 patients a year. “We are praying that God will give us 10 percent of the people to come to salvation,” Kadio said. “We see this as a very powerful evangelistic tool to start churches all over the Ivory Coast.” The church that is working with the hospital as the spiritual authority, Grand Bassam Baptist Church, is planning to start a seminary near the hospital soon.
Kadio encourages BJU students to come help the hospital. Students don’t necessarily have to be medical students. They could be from any major: communications, languages, ministry or other areas of academic study. “I would like anybody who sees himself as a visionary, anyone who sees himself as an instrument in the hands of God,” Kadio said. “We want our students to be an agent of positive change. If you see yourself as capable of helping us, this team is yours.”
Supporters can contribute to the offering through various on-campus fundraisers or by donating online at bibleconference.bju.edu.