Bonou Née Zanou Berthe
Berthe Bonou-Zanou is the director of the Akpakpa Paediatric Clinic in Cotonou, founded 19 years ago. It is the first private clinic in Benin to offer health care to children from birth to age 17. It provides consultation services for infants in differing states of health, as well as nutritional advice and an extended range of vaccination programmes and biological exams. It can also provide hospitalization and surgical consultation. The quality of the services and the round-the-clock availability of highly qualified staff is what makes the Akpakpa Paediatric Clinic stand out.To remain competitive in a market that is attracting more competitors, the Akpakpa Paediatric Clinic reorganized its mode of functioning in order to remain competitive. After an Empretec workshop, Berthe and her associate decided to establish a procedures manual and ensure its implementation. They also decided to disclose their corporate policy and their vision, fixed short-term and long-term objectives. As a result, quality management has been strengthened and there is greater motivation among staff. They implemented a suggestions box to ask their patients for feedback on the quality of the services provided. For example, to increase the clientele, the clinic offered expectant mothers their first ultrasound pictures. Pictures also decorate the waiting rooms, giving a welcoming and warm atmosphere to the clinic. Revenues grew 10 per cent after these changes took place.
Akpakpa Paediatric Clinic contributes to sustainable development through the quality and affordability of the health care services provided. The clinic recommends early care of diseases in order to prevent their development. This reduces the long-term cost of health care and the impact on household revenues, thereby freeing funds for other economic activities. The clinic also provides stable employment for 33 employees and temporary positions for 6 staff. Continuous education is provided to employees, with two doctors being sent each year to national or international congresses. Great importance is placed on knowledge acquisition and knowledge transfer, from developed to developing countries, but also within developing countries. The clinic also contributes to gender empowerment by employing women, who constitute 85% of their staff.
The clinic’s revenuestgrew from US$336,173 in 2012 to US$355,505 in 2014. In the future, Akpakpa would like to increase its capital stock, hire more paediatricians, strengthen the department of neonatology, further develop the laboratory and extend its service so as to include all the subspecialties. Cotonou has five paediatric clinics, making the competition tight. Therefore, the clinic has ambitions to expand its coverage regionally.