Action For Health : Empowering Communities in Mali

 
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Apr 12, 2010

Action for Health hits the ground running

Community leaders celebrate the clinic opening
Community leaders celebrate the clinic opening

The first few months of 2010 have been an exciting time for the Mali Health Organizing Project, and we are looking forward to a great year with a new clinic and community health worker pilot underway!

We are thrilled to announce that the grand opening of the Centre de Sante Communautaire de Sikoro-Sourakabougou (CSCOMSISOU) took place on Saturday, April 10, 2010. The community clinic construction began in December 2008, and the doors opened to patients unofficially last month. Located several kilometers from paved road, but right next to the market and school in Sourakabougou, this six-room clinic is located to maximize accessibility to the least served residents of the city. In addition, we have partnered with the Association de Sante Communautaire de Sikoro-Sourakabougou (ASACOSISOU), the clinic's governing board, to develop this clinic as an trial site for innovative health-financing and technological interventions to improve health access and to reduce child morbidity and mortality.

The need for this clinic is clear -- and it has been demonstrated time and again in the few short weeks since the doors first opened in March. Before CSCOMSISOU opened, for example, pregnant mothers of Sourakabougou have often had to walk more than 5km to the nearest health facility, stopping to rest between contractions. To avoid giving birth on the way, mothers are told to carry rocks on their heads or in their skirts! For this reason, many women opt to give birth at home without the presence of a skilled birth attendant or physician, thus dramatically increasing the risk to themselves and their newborn child. Thanks to our clinic, pregnant women will no longer have to face this choice during labor. We welcomed more than twelve babies in our first few weeks of operation, and we expect to see many many more in the weeks to come.

Jointly organized by MHOP, our Community Health Action Group, and the ASACOSISOU, the grand opening was attended by more than 300 community members and included fantastic speeches, a ribbon-cutting, a clinic walk-through, and a traditional folkloric dance performance. In addition to community members, invitees such as the Mayor of Bamako Commune I, the Director General of the Ministry of Health's e-Health office, the health advisor to the President, community dignitaries, and even the clinic's first newborn baby were present to celebrate this incredible achievement. More than twenty-five years after the Malian government approved this site for the construction of a community clinic, we are excited to begin providing health care to the more than 60,000 residents of this under-served community. We would also like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to all of our generous supporters, without whom this clinic would not have become a reality. You had no small part in making this happen, and we thank you.

MHOP is also very excited to announce the commencement of Action for Health, our innovative health-financing and community health worker initiative that will offer free care and preventative education to more than 220 families (350 children under the age of five) in return for participation in volunteer health activities. Leona Rosenblum, Action for Health program coordinator, gave a refresher training to our 11 community health workers in February and they began visiting our target families in March. At each visit, the health workes evaluate children under the age of five for signs of serious illness or malnutrition, accompanying sick children to the clinic where they receive free treatment for symptoms related to the four major childhood killers: malaria, respiratory infections, diarrhea and malnutrition. To date, our CHWs have made more than 700 home visits.

In the next month, we begin the second phase of the Action for Health program by launching a mobile medical record program that will allow our health workers to send and receive patient status updates via text messages. The SMS data will be organized into a lightweight medical records system at the clinic, allowing the physicians to enter observation and treatment data at the point of care, and send follow-up instructions to the patient's health worker. The program will dramatically improve the current standard of care by offering physicians access to complete medical histories and improving continuity of care between our health workers and clinic staff. Selected by the Ministry of Health's e-Health office as a priority intervention, we will be further developing the system in partnership with their team.

With all of these great achievements already under our belts, 2010 is promising to be a fantastic year for the Mali Health Organizing Project. We are extraordinarily grateful to all of our supporters, without whom this work would not be possible. If you are interested in learning more about our programs, please visit our website www.malihealth.org, or contact Anna Ninan, Executive Director at anna@malihealth.org. Thank you again for all you do!

The MHOP team gathers in front of the new clinic
The MHOP team gathers in front of the new clinic
Our first baby is born at the clinic in March!
Our first baby is born at the clinic in March!

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Organization

Project Leader

Kris Ansin

Executive Director
Westminster Station, VT United States

Where is this project located?

Mali   Health
Map of Action For Health : Empowering Communities in Mali