MSF in Mali: “We Will Not Abandon Our Patients Now”
In the town of Gao, in conflict-riven northern Mali, an average of 120 patients make their way to the MSF Wabaria and Sossokoira health centers each day. Even though the rainy season is over, 70 percent come with malaria, a potentially fatal parasitic disease that leaves sufferers exhausted from high fevers and uncontrollable shivers. Despite the war, it is malaria that the MSF medical teams in the region are battling most fiercely. It remains the leading cause of death in the country, and it is particularly dangerous for children under the age of five.
“Although there is a hospital and 10 health centers in and around Gao town, this is for a population of 400,000, and we realized that some people still had no access to medical care. Our patients tell us that all they hope for is peace. And we are with them; we stayed here throughout the air strikes, we will not abandon our patients now. We hope that the health system will develop and eventually replace us. But until then, we will stay and ensure that the people of Gao and Ansongo continue to have access to quality and free health care,” says Dr. Jose Bafoa, MSF’s medical team leader in Gao.