Timbuktu, a city in Mali’s northern region, was once a distinguished centre for Islamic scholarship. In the 13th – 16th centuries, the country enjoyed political stability and was the epicentre of Islamic study with scholars from all over the Muslim world visiting it.
Today, Mali is a country in crisis. After a coup and clashes between insurgent groups and the government, conflict broke out in 2012. The occupation in northern Mali by armed Islamist groups drove hundreds of thousands of people from their homes and the region was rendered a no-mans-land until French and Malian troops retook the area in 2013.
Despite the signing of an official peace accord in April 2015, the presence of a UN peacekeeping mission including French and African Union military support, violence and instability persist in the country and the state of emergency was recently extended to October 2018.
The ongoing situation has put enormous pressure on an already challenged healthcare system and vulnerable community members, such as young children, pregnant and breastfeeding women living in rural areas, are particularly hard-hit by the situation.
To provide vulnerable groups in affected areas with healthcare, a Mobile Clinic is sometimes the only available medical facility. International Medical Corps supports several Mobile Clinics in Mali. In February 2017 alone, well over 200 medical consultations were provided to under-served areas, almost half of which to children under five. Well over a hundred children could also receive vaccinations and another hundred screened for malnutrition.
In a country three times the size of Germany, with almost 75% of all people living on the poverty line and with one of the lowest life expectancies in the in the world, a mobile clinic offers a lifeline to people with no other access to healthcare.
In this context, an International Medical Corps Mobile Clinic can often mean the difference between life and death. More units are needed to assist some of the world’s most underserved communities, this way people living in rural parts of Mali receive the healthcare they deserve.