HEALTH AND WELFARE
The contrast between the traditional and the modern Ivory Coast is nowhere as clear as in the material way of life of the people. A small segment of the population, Westernized through education and extended contact with Europeans and disposing of a substantial income from employment in the higher ranks of government, industry and commerce or from the cultivation of export crops, enjoys a standard of living comparable to that of Western Europe. The goods and services which they enjoy and often take for granted differ sharply from those enjoyed by the vast majority of the people. This discrepancy is typical of newly independent African states.
The government has expressed concern over the discrepancy between the standard of living of the mass of the population and a small privileged class, and in 1962 Houphouët-Boigny announced an austerity program intended to impose a greater share of the burden for economic development on the privileged and to eliminate some of their privileges. The program includes a temporary freeze on wages and salaries, a "national contribution" in the form of a progressive income tax, and cessation of the granting of free housing and transportation to public employees.
The people themselves are looking for change and for a better way of life, and thousands of them, particularly the young, gravitate toward Abidjan in search of economic opportunities. Rapid urbanization, not only in Abidjan but also in other industrial and commercial centers, has been accompanied by a rise in prostitution, juvenile delinquency and unemployment, but none has reached the proportions to be considered a social problem. The shortage of housing, however, has become a problem, and the government is actively engaged in the construction of low-cost housing and urban renewal, either on its own or in conjunction with private enterprise. A special ministry, the Ministry of Construction and City Planning, is charged with town planning, urban renewal and housing. One of the tasks in 1962 was the systematic clearing of the slums which have grown up as a result of the rapid expansion of Abidjan in the past 10 years.
General sanitation throughout the country is extremely poor. Water polluted with human and animal waste is frequently used for laundering, bathing, and even drinking. Food is stored and sold in the open, exposed to dirt and flies which breed in open latrines and unprotected