Despite the peace agreement reached between the government and the main armed groups in northern Mali in June, the security situation remained volatile for the rest of the year.
Clashes between armed groups impeded humanitarian access, and the lack of medical supplies and qualified personnel meant that people were left with little or no basic healthcare. There were deadly security incidents in the south, notably an attack by Islamic militants on a restaurant in March and an attack on a luxury hotel in November, both in Bamako.
In Gao region, MSF continued to support the hospital in Ansongo district, where a team manages outpatient services, admissions, maternal health, nutrition, surgery and the laboratory. MSF staff also worked with health centres in rural areas to arrange medical referrals. In September, a special project was launched to meet the basic medical needs of both pregnant women and children under the age of five among the seasonal pastoralist population in the region. In addition, more than 46,000 children the age of five received antimalarial treatment during the seasonal peak between August and November to guard against the disease. At the same time, and in accordance with the national vaccination schedule, they were also vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type B, polio, pneumococcus, rotavirus, measles, yellow fever and tuberculosis. This resulted in significant improvement in vaccination rates in the area.
From August, to improve access to healthcare for people living in Kidal region, north of Gao, a team supported two health centres in the town and worked with a local organisation, SoliSa (Solidarité au Sahel) in other facilities in outlying areas.
Healthcare in Timbuktu and the surrounding area
In Timbuktu, MSF supported the 86-bed regional hospital, focusing on medical and surgical emergencies. There were an average of 390 inpatient admissions and 80 assisted deliveries every month. Teams also provided consultations for patients with chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, at the referral health facility.
Over 40 per cent of people living in the Timbuktu region are more than 15 kilometres from the nearest health centre. To ease access to healthcare, MSF mobile teams support staff in three peripheral health centres that offer basic care, vaccinations, maternal care and malnutrition screening. These clinics had to be suspended for several months due to insecurity.
The main cause of child mortality in the relatively peaceful south of the country is malaria. In 2015, MSF continued to focus on child health and severe acute malnutrition in Koutiala, Sikasso region. MSF supports the paediatric unit within the Koutiala referral health facility and five health centres in Koutiala district. MSF increased the number of beds to 300 in the paediatric unit during the seasonal malaria peak.
MSF has been running a seasonal malaria chemoprevention programme in this area for four years and in 2015 delivered antimalarial treatments to 190,067 children. A preventive paediatric care project, including vaccinations and bed net distribution, continued in the Konséguéla health area, with vaccinations extended to all five health centres that MSF supports.
No. staff in 2015: 631 | Expenditure: €11.5 million | Year MSF first worked in the country: 1992 | msf.org/mali