In certain parts of Africa, female genital mutilation (FGM) has been linked to religion, with Muslim communities mistakenly believing that the practice is a religious requirement. But in CÃ´te d'Ivoire, religion is also being put at the service of fighting FGM -- sometimes referred to as female circumcision.
CÃ´te d'Ivoire is ending the year on a turbulent note, with protests against President Laurent Gbagbo's decision to reinstate officials implicated in the recent toxic-waste scandal -- and ongoing tensions between Gbagbo and Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny.
To get a sense of the problems besetting prisons in CÃ´te d'Ivoire, look no further than Building C of the House of Arrest and Correction of Abidjan (Maca). The 115 detainees crowded together in this building share just one toilet, and barely manage a daily shower. Maca, the largest prison in southern CÃ´te d'Ivoire, is home to more than 4Â 000 prisoners -- even though the 26-year-old facility was built for just half that number.
As illnesses go, Buruli ulcer does not receive the attention given to conditions such as HIV/Aids or bird flu: the World Health Organisation has even termed it a ''neglected tropical disease''. In the conflict-torn nation of CÃ´te d'Ivoire, however, matters are somewhat different.