Dec 22, 2020

Preventing New Cases of Cervical Cancer in Mali

Cervical cancer disproportionately affects women in low and middle income countries, as the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is less frequently available or not available at all in many parts of the world. In 2018 Médecins Sans Frontières reports, approximately 311,000 women died as a result of cervical cancer. Over 80% of these women lived in low and middle income countries, such as Mali. 

The HPV vaccine is considered extremely effective in preventing the development of cervical cancer. It is recommended that all adolescent girls receive the vaccine as a means of preventing cervical cancer.

As the HPV vaccine is currently unavailable in Mali, supporting other means of preventing the contraction of the virus are extremely important. These include education on how to prevent sexually transmitted infections such as HPV. GAIA Vaccine Foundation aims to fill this gap by providing free weekly reproductive health classes at the Teen Peer Education program at Hope Center Clinic. 

In 2018, 570,000 new cases of cervical cancer were diagnosed. GAIA VF needs your help to ensure that educational programs can continue to reach as many Malian teens as possible to prevent cervical cancer. Thus far in 2020, 1,360 Malian teens have attended the program, 1,055 of which were girls. 

Thank you for your continued support to GAIA VF!

Dec 22, 2020

Second Wave of COVID Hits Mali, Drives Hunger

On December 18, the Malian government announced that schools, restaurants and bars must close for two weeks as COVID-19 cases rise. The closure of these establishments will undoubtedly continue to take a toll on the livelihoods of Malians, driving further concerns on hunger in the country. 

The second wave of COVID-19 has decidedly hit the African continent and Mali is experiencing a sharp rise in cases and associated deaths from the virus. Hospitals in Bamako are saturated. To cope with this new outbreak, the Malian government has issued new mandates in an attempt to curb the increase in cases. 

As schools close, children remain at home and parents lose their jobs, hunger will undoubtedly increase in Mali. GAIA Vaccine Foundation’s Nutrition Program at Hope Center Clinic, which provides free weekly meals is more important than ever and will be a vital source of sustenance during this difficult time in Mali. Since the pandemic began in March 2020, GAIA VF has served over 2,658 meals to the Sikoro community. We need your help to increase the amount of meals we are able to provide in December and January. 

Please consider supporting Hope Center Clinic Nutrition Program to ensure that no one goes without a meal during these trying times. 

Thank you for your support to GAIA Vaccine Foundation!


Dec 2, 2020

Increase in Child Trafficking, Youth Vulnerability

In Mali, political instability, armed conflict, and the COVID-19 pandemic have led to an increase in child trafficking and youth vulnerability in 2020. A new report released by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) details how bleak economic conditions and school closures across Mali have pushed many Malian youth into the country's gold mines, where children face harsh working conditions and often suffer physical and emotional abuse.

Within the first half of 2020, there are more recorded cases of child labor recruitment (230) than in all of 2019 (215). While boys are often the ones forced into gold mines, there is concern that child marriage among Malian girls will also surge during this uncertain time. Currently, 53% of Malian girls are married before the age of 18 years old.  

Many schools in Mali remain closed due to armed conflict, strikes, and/or the COVID-19 pandemic. In Sikoro, the Teen Peer Education program provides stability, education and a safe space for Malian youth. As Malian teens become more vulnerable, being knowledgeable about reproductive health is especially important. 

“As a result of conflict and socio-economic deterioration worsened by the pandemic, we are seeing some of the most egregious human rights violations in the Sahel...Children are being forced to fight by armed groups, trafficked, raped, sold, forced into sexual or domestic servitude, or married off. Many more children are at risk in the Sahel, a region which is becoming the fastest-growing humanitarian crisis in the world, ” said UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection. 

The Teen Peer Education not only provides essential information on taking care of one’s health, but also provides a nurturing and stable environment during this time of much uncertainty. From January through October 2020, 1,180 teens attended the program. Please consider supporting GAIA Vaccine Foundation’s Teen Peer Education program. A donation of just $10 provides transportation for teens. 

Thank you for your support to GAIA Vaccine Foundation and the Teen Peer Education Program!

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