Critical Health Services Reach Underserved Communities in Northern Mali

International Medical Corps mobilized an emergency response in Mali in January 2013 after armed forces from the north began moving south, triggering French military intervention. As many as 4.2 million Malians are now in need of humanitarian assistance. International Medical Corps is working in the north of Mali, providing emergency health, nutrition and protection services to Malians affected by the conflict. Below, Ibrahim and Fadimata, who we reached with health services at our ECHO-funded Hamzakoma Community Health Center in the Timbuktu region, recount their stories.

Ibrahim (Bougouni Village)
“I live in Bougouni Village and I have come to the health center to see the doctor. We are very grateful for the free medical care and medicine that is now available.

During the occupation, this clinic was shut down and we had to walk long distances to see the doctor. The nearest place was 12.5 miles from my village. Now our health center has been rehabilitated; we have good doctors and nurses who listen to everyone. More than 20 of my family members have been able to use the health services here free of charge.

I know why my family gets sick – it is because of the lack of clean drinking water. The only water source available to us is from the Niger River and that often brings with it disease and sickness. Also, the hot weather has a serious effect on the health of my community. Despite the hot weather and lack of shade, many people spend their days working in the fields.

Many thanks to International Medical Corps and all the people that support them with money. They should keep on helping people in this remote rural area.”

Fadimata (Minthiri Village)
“I am from Minthiri, a village located 4.5 miles away from the health center.

I am here today because my baby has been sick; the nurses said she is malnourished. They provided me with some special foods for her treatment and they are going to give me soap, tablets for water purification, jerry cans and a bucket for the storage of clean water.

My neighbour came here last month because she did not know why her son was sick. We did not recognize that he was malnourished and we had never heard about the treatment for this. She came back to our village and told all the other mothers about the symptoms of malnutrition and what to look for in your children. I am very grateful for her knowledge.

Since the health center has been rebuilt, we now know that there are people to take care of us. During the crisis, my family of 8 people used to go to Beregoungou, the only functioning health center. But that was expensive and dangerous because we required a boat cross the river.

Today, I can just walk a little to reach our health center that I am very proud of. We are no longer spending money to get health care. My wish is that we recruit new health workers to treat people faster because there are a great many patients in this area.”

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