As of October 12th, The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center has reported 3,296 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Mali. 632 of these cases are currently active, up from 480 in late August. Though Mali has been able to control the spread of COVID-19 by implementing well-coordinated public health and social measures, a lack of testing and PPE, misinformation, and growing political tension during the lockdown leave its people vulnerable.
The combined effects of violent conflict, poor food harvests and COVID-19 have left Mali in a precarious state. Since prevention measures were implemented, poverty and living conditions have worsened significantly. With an overtaxed health system and lack of proper PPE, access to health services that are normally available has decreased. In addition, the spread of misinformation and conspiracies has increased tensions among vulnerable communities who are resisting government public health measures that interfere with normal life.
The pandemic’s repercussions on peace and social relations in Mali are concerning. In some cases, health care workers and victims and survivors of COVID-19 have faced social stigma from the community. While being interviewed for a study on stigmatization of COVID-19 by Save the Children, Aissata, a Malian youth human rights advocate, said:
“A friend shared with me her feelings following the death of her uncle, who had just come back from a Western country and was suspected of having COVID-19. While she was trying to cope with her pain and grief, people she had been with at the funeral kept calling her to find out whether she had the disease too. She felt harassed. She felt they didn't care about her and the painful time she was going through, but were only worried about being infected by her. Many of her friends and people who knew her ostracized her; she became the person to avoid. Eventually, the results showed her uncle was not even carrying the virus.”
While Mali is trying its hardest to control the spread of COVID-19, it still lacks the PPE, testing, sanitation supplies and community outreach that will allow for widespread treatment and prevention. Your donation will help us to continue to provide essential supplies and services to Hope Center Clinic, so that patients and health care workers can stay safe and healthy. A donation of just $25 provides a box of masks to protect our staff and patients!
Thank you for your generosity and support to GAIA Vaccine Foundation!