Mali has returned to democracy, but the effects of 2012’s instability are still being felt

Home to roughly 17 million people, the West African country of Mali is the ancient heartland of an African empire.

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The capital, Bamako, is said to be one of the fastest growing cities in Africa and the country is renowned worldwide for producing stars of African music, most notably Salif Keita and Ali Farka Touré.

Mali was regarded as a model of African democracy until the military seized power in March 2012 and the north fell under al-Qaeda control.

The chaos that ensued after the coup led hundreds of thousands of northern Malians to flee their homes – creating food shortages in the south.

Mali has since returned to democracy, but the effects of 2012’s instability are still being felt.

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) first began working in Mali in 1992 and is currently helping to fill healthcare gaps, by treating conditions such as malaria, malnutrition and chronic diseases.

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MSF’s work in Mali: 2016

Access to medical care remains very limited in the north of Mali due to a lack of medical staff and supplies, and clashes between armed groups continue despite a peace agreement.

Gao region

In Ansongo town, Gao region, we support the 48-bed referral hospital, providing:

  • outpatient consultations
  • inpatient and emergency care
  • surgery
  • maternal healthcare
  • treatment for chronic diseases
  • nutrition and laboratory services.

The team also offers mental health support to victims of violence, and treats victims of sexual gender-based violence. Another team supports the district health centre.

In the rural areas of Ansongo district, MSF arranges referrals from the community to health centres and the hospital.

From July to December, when the nomadic community migrated with their cattle far from the health centres, we ensured they had access to primary healthcare by training and mentoring community health workers in the diagnosis and treatment of the most common diseases.

Kidal region

In Kidal region, north of Gao, we supported two health centres in Kidal town and three more in the periphery.

In Timbuktu, as medical staff who had fled the city during the unrest began to return towards the end of the year, we initiated a progressive handover of all its activities in the regional referral hospital to the Ministry of Health.

Southern Mali

In Koutiala district, southern Mali, we continue to run a comprehensive paediatric programme, aimed at reducing the morbidity and mortality of children under the age of five.

In 2016, 7,032 children were admitted to the paediatric ward and 3,829 to the nutrition ward of the MSF-supported regional referral hospital in Koutiala.

Teams also supported paediatric and nutrition activities in five health centres across the district, carrying out 90,203 outpatient consultations and treating 3,779 children for malnutrition.

In these five health zones, a preventative package of health measures is implemented for all children under the age of two, including routine follow-up consultations, distribution of mosquito nets and supplementary milk-based foods, and vaccinations.

This year, 7,723 children benefited from the package.

Find out more in our International Activity Report