Read more about our recent response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa

Country History

The Republic of Mali is a landlocked nation in West Africa and home to the famed ancient city of Timbuktu. In the golden age in the 1300s, Mali flourished as a regional trading empire that drew scholars in mathematics, literature, and art. Mali was colonized by the French in the late 19th century and did not claim independence until 1960. The country was then under a one-party dictatorship until a military coup ushered in a period of democratic rule that led to the country’s first democratic elections in 1992. However, rebel groups continued to stage uprisings in the north of the country. In 2012, another coup ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure, effectively splitting the country in two, with armed Islamists controlling the northern areas of Gao, Kidal, and Timbuktu. Violence in 2012 forced huge numbers of people to flee their homes, making millions of Malians vulnerable to malnutrition, epidemics, and a lack of access to health care. The country became embroiled on the fringes of West Africa’s outbreak, the largest and deadliest in history, in October 2014 when a two-year-old traveled by bus from Guinea to Bamako. In total, eight people contracted Ebola in Mali, six of whom died.

Country Response

International Medical Corps has worked in Mali since 2013 following political instability and a coup d’état which caused mass displacement and the disruption of many public systems including health care. The violence and insecurity in the north aggravated the already fragile health and nutritional conditions in the region and women and girls became increasingly exposed to acts of sexual violence. In response, International Medical Corps has been working with the most affected communities in Timbuktu and Gourma-Rharous districts in programs focused on health, nutrition, and protection.

When Ebola spread to Mali in 2014, International Medical Corps worked to equip Mali’s health care system to quickly detect, contain, and respond to potential Ebola and other infectious disease cases through training of health care workers and other professionals in medical level case management. Today, International Medical Corps is building on these efforts to strengthen Mali’s disease surveillance, information, and reporting systems for not just Ebola, but other infectious diseases with epidemic potential.


  • Population

    16.9 Million

  • age

    Median Age
    16.1 Years

  • life

    Life Expectancy
    55.34 Years

  • life

    Fertility Rate
    6.06 children per mother

  • Infant Mortality Rate

    Infant Mortality Rate
    102.23 deaths/1000 live births


  • Emergency Response and Preparedness

  • Family and Community Health

  • Health Services Support

  • Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

  • Women's and Children's Health

  • Mental Health and Psychosocial Support

  • Nutrition and Food Security


Health Care in Conflict Areas

Our health response in northern Mali promotes free, quality, curative, and preventive health services in areas highly affected by the recent war. We have helped local health care structures of Gourma-Rharous and Timbuktu districts regain self-reliance and credibility by rehabilitating and supplying community health centers, recruiting and training health workers, and strengthening the emergency response and disease surveillance. We have also enhanced water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities in all supported health centers and provided water pumps and tanks, hand washing stations, and latrines.

We also support community health committees’ management and handling of health facilities to strengthen community-based health structures. We also provide training opportunities for health care professionals working in the facilities we support in northern Mali in areas such as emergency obstetric care, integrated management of childhood illnesses, clinical management and psychosocial support for SGBV survivors, community management of acute malnutrition, and Ebola (EVD) response.

Sexual and Gender-based Violence

Gender-based violence (GBV) rates in Mali significantly increased during the recent conflict in the north. We work in 19 health facilities in Gourma-Rharous and Timbuktu districts, providing confidential and compassionate clinical and psychosocial care to GBV survivors. We also work with community-based to train community volunteers and local health staff and design referral paths to other relevant services.


International Medical Corps supports community health centers in northern Mali to prevent and treat malnutrition. We do this by training health care providers in the treatment of malnutrition, providing nutrition supplies and medication, and strengthening the referral systems between community health centers and regional health facilities and hospitals. Within communities, we train community health volunteers in how to identify and refer malnourished children and pregnant and breastfeeding women—and ultimately identify malnutrition cases earlier before they are complicated and harder to treat. To prevent malnutrition, we promote the care group model, which uses volunteers to encourage mothers to adopt practices known to improve child nutrition.

Infectious Disease Prevention and Response

International Medical Corps provided didactic and simulation training in infectious disease case management such as Ebola to medical and non-medical personnel from the public and private health systems, Malian Ministry of Health, partner agencies, and Red Cross volunteers. By the end of 2015, we trained over 2,200 medical and non-medical professionals from 62 public and 30 private health care facilities across the country—increasing the number of skilled, confident responders in the country. Most of the trainings were held at a center we built in the capital, Bamako, which was handed over the National Center for Disease Control in late 2015. We also created three rapid response teams in Bamako, Segou, and Sikasso regions that were equipped to transport any suspected Ebola patients and support local health facilities in case definition and infection prevention control—knowledge and skills that are essential in preventing infectious diseases.

Global Health System Security

Over the next five years, International Medical Corps, with support from the CDC as part of its Global Health Security Agenda, will collaborate with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Rural Development to strengthen Mali’s disease surveillance, information, and reporting systems. In the first year, International Medical Corps and our partners will work in Ségou and Sikasso regions to bolster foundational indicator and event-based surveillance systems; improve coordination and capacity to respond and mitigate outbreaks; and better reporting to the WHO and other organizations in emergencies.

Polio Eradication in Northern Mali

Mali last had a polio case (vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2) in 2015 after a 19-month-old child traveled from Guinea to the capital Bamako, putting the country on high alert. International Medical Corps is helping strengthen surveillance systems for acute flaccid paralysis (AFP), the most common sign of acute polio used to diagnose cases, in the Gao Region in northern Mali. This includes training government and private health workers in AFP, establishing efficient testing protocols, and sharing all results so that suspected cases can be effectively referred.


Mali Capability Statement

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Mali Capability Statement (French)

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