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Background: 2013

This is an extract from our latest Activity Report, looking back on our work in the previous year.

Although the situation stabilised somewhat in Mali in the second half of the year, many people are still afraid to return home. The 2012 crisis has furthered weakened the healthcare system, particularly in the north.

Many health workers have fled the country and access to adequate medical care remains a significant issue throughout Mali, even in the south.

Malnutrition and malaria are persistent health concerns.

Fleeing fighting

Early in the year, sporadic attacks and fighting around Gao caused people to flee in fear of air strikes and reprisals.

Some families left the country while others found shelter in small villages or withstood harsh living conditions in the bush.

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) provided basic healthcare at several health clinics in the region.

At the beginning of the year, teams were working in Chabaria, Wabaria and Sossokoira and services began at Bazi Haoussa health clinic in June.

All these activities had been handed over to other NGOs and development agencies by the end of the year.

A team also worked in the 39-bed Ansongo hospital, south of Gao, vaccinating children and providing outpatient and inpatient services, reproductive healthcare and emergency surgery.

More than 8,500 children were vaccinated against measles.

Healthcare in Timbuktu

Insecurity in and around Timbuktu contributed to a deteriorating food and health situation.

It is difficult for people to reach health facilities, particularly when they have to travel along roads targeted by armed gangs.

MSF works in all departments of the 60-bed Timbuktu hospital, Niafunké hospital and five outlying health centres.

A total of 91,975 consultations were conducted for patients mainly suffering from malaria, pregnancy complications, respiratory infections and chronic diseases.

Paediatric care

In the south, MSF continued a comprehensive paediatric programme in Koutiala, Sikasso state, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health.

A free healthcare package is aimed at ensuring children’s growth and development and reducing hospitalisation.

MSF manages the paediatric unit in Koutiala hospital, where over 5,300 patients were admitted, including more than 5,000 children with severe or complicated malnutrition.

Teams also provide basic healthcare in five peripheral health centres, where some 82,000 medical consultations were undertaken, more than a third involving malaria, and 3,460 children with severe malnutrition received treatment.

Preventive and curative paediatric care is also offered in the Konseguela health area, where children receive healthcare and preventive measures, including a full package of vaccinations.

Teams have observed a reduction in acute severe malnutrition and stunting in the children participating in the programme.

Preventing malaria

MSF implemented Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention during the high transmission period between July and October.

On average, around 163,000 children were given treatment at each of the four rounds and it is estimated that approximately 87 percent of children received at least three of the four distributions.

The number of children suffering from uncomplicated malaria in 2013 was 31 percent less when compared to the previous year.

Treating malnutrition

Severely malnourished children received medical care from MSF in Mopti region.

The project, which had opened in 2012, was handed over to Save the Children in March.

Before, during and after the fighting erupted in northern Mali, MSF worked in Mopti and Douentza districts, where the focus was on maternal and child health, basic healthcare and surgery.

Teams worked in a referral centre in Douentza and in five basic healthcare centres: Konna, Boré, Douentza, Hombori and Boni. These activities had all been handed over to the Ministry of Health by late November.

At the end of 2013, MSF had 610 staff in Mali. MSF has worked in the country since 1984.

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