Mali: Medical Missions & Capacity Building
Population: 18.54 million
Mali has seen a decline in maternal and infant mortality over the past ten years, which is encouraging, but several challenges remain persistent in the country. Suspicion of Western medicine and actors in communities makes training and building local capacities all the more important, to ensure that people are met with the care they need to survive. While many of the expected communicable diseases like malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS continue to result in high mortality and morbidity, non-communicable diseases are also a growing threat – with cardiovascular diseases estimated to account for 11% of all deaths in the country.
- There are an estimated 0.083 physicians per 1,000 population and 0.43 nurses and midwives per 1,000 population.
- Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live birth): 42
- Under-5 mortality rate (per 1,000 live birth): 128
*Estimates Developed by the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UNICEF, WHO, World Bank, UN DESA Population Division)
Within Mali, USFC is focused on cardiovascular and reconstructive surgical initiatives at the Andre Festoc Pediatric Surgery Unit at the Luxembourg Mother-Child Hospital in Bamako. In addition, given the persistent threat of communicable diseases, we have integrated general medical training missions and advocated for increased medical and nutritional care among children.
In the year 2018 :
- USFC organized multiple mission trips to Mali consisting of 90 volunteers to provide comprehensive theoretical and practical training for 30 Malian medical professionals.
- USFC performed 58 successful heart surgeries in Mali free of charge
- We organized three medical missions in which 15 Malian doctors were trained and 150 children with severe burns were treated. In parallel, around 350 traditional medicine practitioners were trained during two medical missions in the Sikasso region of Mali.
In 2017, USFC began construction of a new pediatric surgery project, generously supported by Ms. Thi Sanh Festoc, in honor of her deceased husband, Mr. André Festoc. In 2018, that unit opened its doors to the public bearing his name. It is comprised of two operating theaters, 6-bed recovery unit, blood bank, sterilization unit and the necessary services to support heart surgery.
During the period of construction, medical teams received training at the Ibn El Bitar Hospital in Tunisia and the Cuomo Pediatric Cardiology Center in Senegal. This was supplemented by several medical missions. In total, 90 volunteers participated across multiple missions to ensure a comprehensive theoretical and practical training course for 30 Malian medical professionals.
In its first year, USFC supported successful cardiac operations on 58 children.
Alongside the opening of the Andre Festoc Pediatric Surgery Unit, since January 2018, we have been working on a referral program within the reconstructive surgery unit at the Luxembourg Mother and Child Hospital (HMEL) in Bamako, to treat children suffering from burns or facial abnormalities.
Over 3 missions were organized, 15 doctors were trained and 150 children were treated, including children suffering from pathologies of the face and the aftermath of severe burns. While offering medical and surgical treatment at the HMEL we also conduct training for local organizations so that they can better identify cases, refer patients and educate the community. In addition, we also treat people who may have experienced esophageal stenosis.