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MSF in Mali, 2012
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Conflict erupted in the north of Mali in January. Security forces fought Tuareg opponents, who were later supported by Islamist groups. In March, a coup d’état took place in the capital Bamako. By April the country had virtually split into two, with Tuareg and Islamist groups controlling the north and an interim government in the south. At the end of 2012, the UN estimated that 340,000 people had been displaced, while some 145,000 people, including many health workers, sought refuge in neighboring countries. Access to healthcare, already precarious due to lack of resources and infrastructure, was reduced further.
Healthcare in Conflict Zones
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) began providing basic medical services at three health posts in remote areas of Kidal region. An MSF team then progressively took over the 65-bed Timbuktu hospital: emergency department, pediatric ward, general medicine, surgery, maternity services, pharmacy and laboratory. Staff also supported 10 health centers in the Timbuktu region, carrying out a total of 50,000 medical consultations.
In Gao region, east of Timbuktu, MSF provided basic services at two health centers from September. Staff conducted some 65 consultations each day and ran mobile clinics in rural areas. A team also took over the management of a 40-bed hospital in Ansongo, south of the city of Gao.
At the end of October, MSF began supporting the referral hospital and a health
Medical Care for Children in the South
New Malaria Prevention Campaign
Between August and October, MSF ran a seasonal malaria chemoprevention campaign newly recommended by the World Health Organization, reaching more than 165,000 children in Koutiala district. Children took antimalarial medicine once per month for three months during the malaria season, with encouraging results: a 66.5 per cent reduction in consultations for simple malaria within the first weeks of distribution, and a 70 per cent reduction in children hospitalized with severe malaria.
At the end of 2012 MSF had 496 staff in Mali. MSF has been working in the country since 1992.