Persistent insecurity has deteriorated the national health system

MSF midwives looks after a newborn baby in Douentza hospital, Mali.
MALI 2017 © Seydou Camara/MSF
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This information is excerpted from MSF’s 2017 International Activity Report.

Persistent insecurity, particularly in northern and central regions, has resulted in an overall deterioration in the national health system and basic social services in Mali.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) runs programs in several parts of the country to increase access to health care for the most vulnerable.


MSF has been supporting the reference hospital in Ansongo town, in Gao region in eastern Mali, since 2012. Teams support outpatient consultations, emergency care and admissions, surgery, maternal health care, chronic disease treatment, nutritional care, neonatology, pediatrics, and treatment and psychological support for victims of violence, including victims of sexual violence. MSF also provides basic care for pregnant women and children under five years of age at the community health center in the town.

In Ansongo district, MSF refers patients to community health centers and transfers severe cases to Gao hospital. Between July and December, when nomadic groups migrate, teams ensure they have access to health care by training community health workers to diagnose and treat the most common diseases. A monitoring and referral system for serious cases is also in place.


In Kidal, north of Gao, MSF supports six health centers in and around the city in partnership with local authorities. Teams provide primary health care to the entire population as well as epidemiological surveillance, and refer complicated cases to the referral health center (CSRef) and Gao hospital.

In Douentza, MSF supports the CSRef in the management of malnutrition, emergency surgery, hospital admissions for children under 15 years of age, and mental health services. It also provides referrals to the CSRef, and transfers urgent cases to Mopti city.

In Koutiala, in the south of the country, MSF focuses on children under the age of five. The team supports nutrition services at the CSRef, as well as in 15 community health centers. In addition, MSF deploys extra community workers in the health district during the peak malaria season. MSF is currently constructing a 185-bed pediatric care unit at Koutiala CSref.

In Ténenkou, MSF’s priority is care for women of childbearing age. Staff supports the maternity ward, operating theater, and the outpatient department at the CSRef. MSF also deploys ‘malaria agents’ to hard-to-reach communities during the peak months (August to November) and mobile clinics offering basic health care.

Emergency response team in the Sahel

An emergency mobile team, composed of medical, paramedical, and logistical experts, has been in place since 2015 in the Sahel. Its purpose is to monitor the epidemiological situation and to respond, within 24 to 48 hours, to medical and humanitarian emergencies in the region, mainly in Niger, but also in Mali.