Red Cross increases aid programs to northern Mali

Topics: Africa, International Humanitarian Law
October 08, 2012

Red Cross increases aid programs to northern Mali

When it comes to assisting those in need during times of war and armed conflict, the Canadian Red Cross is active in promoting the tenets of international humanitarian law

In Mali, significant public health issues like maternal and child health, water and sanitation, food security and disease have the power to impact the lives of people in need throughout the country.

With support from the Government of Canada, the Canadian Red Cross is working with the Mali Red Cross to support the Ministry of Health in Mali's efforts to reduce childhood illnesses in Sikasso and Koulikoro, two regions in the country. By ensuring that life-saving interventions are improved and increased, the maternal, newborn and child health intervention in Mali addresses the most critical childhood illnesses, such as malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia.

Approximately 875,000 beneficiaries have been helped by this remarkable program, of which 150,037 were vulnerable children under the age of five.

The goals of the program are to provide greater access to quality and available health services targeting women and children. By helping the most vulnerable, isolated and marginalized populations, the Red Cross helps promote equity and drive awareness of health problems, resulting in fewer maternal and child deaths.

To better assist the country, the program has been intensifying efforts to deliver proven, high-impact interventions by focusing on support from three key partners - the Ministry of Health, the Red Cross and the communities.

In an effort to prevent illness and seek health services for mothers, newborns and children, community health-workers are trained to assess, treat and refer children. This ensures access to key village-level health services and pharmaceutical supplies will be provided to increase village-level access to life-saving medications.

The Canadian Red Cross has also made an impact in Mali by improving the capacity of the Mali Red Cross (as well as Sierra Leone and Liberia) to deliver community-based programs that seek to reduce the vulnerability of local populations, particularly women and girls.

Food security, water and sanitation and health are major areas of concern throughout the country, which the Red Cross has sought to help by completing 15 micro-projects. 

These diverse projects have already benefited 11,500 people and have helped support initiatives like community local gardens, which supply vulnerable residents and children under the age of five with fresh vegetables - a great choice for nutrition. Excess produce from the gardens is sold to fund the purchase of new seeds, making the project sustainable in the long-term.

Approximately 93 per cent of the programs were implemented by women, making these progressive programs a step in the right direction for the country. In addition, 367 teams have been formed in Mali to address emergency situations.

The Canadian Red Cross is a leader in humanitarian issues worldwide. To show your support for international programs that allow the Canadian Red Cross to provide essential resources to Mali that can improve the lives of women and children in need, please consider making a donation online or at your local Red Cross office today!