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MSF in Mali, 2004
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The people of Mali are confronted with chronic health emergencies that include epidemics of meningitis, cholera, measles and yellow fever. Because exclusion from health care is a large problem, the primary focus of MSF's medical programs in Mali is to provide treatment to those who most need it.
Since 1996, MSF has provided support to one hospital and three health centers in the Ansongo district of Mali's Gao region. MSF's work includes surgical training, providing essential medicines and materials, and vaccination and outreach activities. MSF also trains traditional birth attendants and supervises overall management of the health centers. In Gao district, MSF supports the Sahel Formation nursing school which prepares health staff for Mali's three northern regions: Gao, Tombouctou and Kidal.
The region of Mopti, located about 600 kilometers northeast of Bamako, has a particularly high prevalence of eye illnesses. In 2003, an MSF mobile team carried out 650 surgical operations for cataracts (400 at the mobile site and 250 at the hospital) and corrective surgery for 1,200 people with trichiasis, another damaging eye condition. More than 265,000 people received generic medicine to treat trachoma, a viral disease that can lead to blindness. In 2003, MSF sent an emergency medical team in Mopti to address meningitis and cholera epidemics both in Mali and neighbouring Burkina Faso.
In Bougouni (Koumantou) research done by MSF's malaria program staff found severe resistance to chloroquine and fansidar, two long-time treatments for the disease. MSF plans to use the collected medical data in its efforts to convince the government to change its national malaria protocol to implement artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT).
MSF has worked in Mali since 1992.