Improving Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Mali

Mali remains one of the poorest countries in the world. The adult literacy rate is only 26 per cent. Lower education levels correlate to being less informed about healthy behaviours, which in turn results in increased disease exposure.

Public health indicators remain alarming, evidenced by persistently high mortality rates within the poorest populations largely due to avoidable infections.

The selected regions (Koulikoro and Sikasso) have the highest birth rates and high morbidity and mortality resulting from low access to healthcare services (only 14% of households have a health centre in their village), poor service-quality and detrimental cultural factors (e.g., too-early marriages).

Objectives and expected results

The objectives of this three year project is to assist the Ministry of Health (MoH) to scale-up its Integrated Community Case-Management (ICCM) of childhood illnesses, intensifying efforts to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDG) through a package of proven, high-impact and cost-effective interventions. It is supported by complementary activities by the Mali Red Cross to improve community-level treatment-seeking behaviours.

The ultimate outcome is to obtain a sustained reduction in mortality and morbidity for children under the age of five years old.

Community Health Workers (CHWs) will be trained to assess, treat and refer children, ensuring village-level health services. Pharmaceutical kits will ensure village-level access to appropriate medications. MoH staff will be trained to supervise CHWs and ensure proper stock management. Activities include behaviour-change communication and health education promoting key health messages on malaria, diarrhoea, pneumonia, neonatal and maternal care.