Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) continued to provide emergency medical care to Malian refugees and host communities in Mauritania until December 2018.
MSF returned to Mauritania in 2012, when thousands of people fled the conflict in northern Mali and settled in Mbera camp on the border between the two countries. The camp still hosts more than 50,000 refugees. Although a peace agreement was signed in 2015, the situation remains unstable in Mali, and many people are therefore reluctant to return.
Our teams provided medical assistance in Mbera camp, including ante- and postnatal care, family planning, obstetrics and neonatology, treatment for chronic and infectious diseases, and nutritional support. We also provided care to local communities neighboring the refugee camp, in the towns of Bassikounou, Fassala, and Koutiala.
In 2018, our teams performed 192 major surgical interventions, such as Caesarean sections and orthopedic procedures, and conducted a multi-antigen vaccination campaign throughout the district, to protect children under five and women against the most common childhood diseases. By the end of September, we had vaccinated more than 7,000 children and 18,000 women against measles, diphtheria, tetanus, polio, and tuberculosis.
Although the context remains volatile, the situation in Mbera and the neighboring districts of Bassikonou and Fassala has become chronic, requiring a long-term response that focuses on the development of a sustainable public health system. For this reason, after six years of emergency and post-emergency medical interventions, we decided to hand over our activities in Mauritania to the Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA) in December 2018. We will continue to monitor the needs in the region and our emergency teams remain ready to intervene as required.