As COVID-19 continues to spread across Mali, vaccination against the virus remains very low. Less than 3% of Malians are vaccinated against COVID-19 and mistrust in the vaccine remains high. Misinformation on the virus and vaccine are widespread.
While the vaccine is now largely available across Mali, there is strong hesitancy against getting the vaccine, all of which are made outside of the African continent.
GAIA Vaccine Foundation continues to host educational sessions on the COVID-19 and how the prevent the virus. The sessions are held at 13 sites across Mali, both urban and rural. GAIA VF employs community healthcare workers who wear the storytelling cloth which visually depicts how the virus is spread and can be prevented.
Support GAIA Vaccine Foundation to provide education on infectious disease prevention such as COVID-19 in Mali today. Thank you!
In October, GAIA Vaccine Foundation co-chair of the board, Sophie Sprecht traveled to Mali to meet with GAIA VF partners and check in on current projects. Sophie spent a week in Bamako where she visited Hope Center Clinic, met with key personnel, and attended a meeting at the United States Embassy of Bamako.
With the recent launch of Corona Kélé, GAIA VF's newest research project on vaccine confidence sponsored by Merck's Investigator Studies Program, Sophie met with community healthcare workers. She was also able to see the newest storytelling cloth in person, which visually depicts how COVID-19 is transmitted and is used as a teaching tool in the Corona Kélé campaign.
Hope Center Clinic continues to prepare against COVID-19 and support Sikoro community members through education on the virus. Donate Hope Center Clinic today through GlobalGiving so that we can continue to provide PPE and support Malians during the pandemic.
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GAIA Vaccine Foundation is thrilled to announce the official start of our latest project, "Corona Kèlè". Supported through Merck's Investigator Studies Program, the project will assess vaccine confidence at the community level and among healthcare workers in both urban and rural areas of Mali.
The study will include both community outreach and professional development workshops for healthcare workers about COVID-19 vaccination as well as childhood vaccines and the HPV vaccine. GAIA VF will use data from surveys to examine the causes of vaccine hesitancy and report to the Malian government about effective vaccination campaign strategies.
A new "storytelling cloth" or "pagne qui parle" has been designed to visually illustrate how COVID-19 is spread and how it can be prevented (hand washing, social distancing, mask wearing). Per the West African tradition of conveying messages through textiles, GAIA VF has harnessed this tradition to convey publica health messaging. Displaying information visually is extremely important in Mali where literarcy is extremely low. Only 35% of Malians are considered literate, and this statistic drops to only 25% among Malian women (even lower in rural areas). The cloth will be used as a teaching aid throughout the campaign and worn by healthcare workers.
On September 1, 2021, the project kicked off with an inaugural event in Bamako. Communications consultant, Nana Haidara and GAIA VF Director and Study Coordinator, Dr. Karamoko Tounkara provided opening remarks on the importance of the project. Former Malian Minister of Health, Dr. Fanta Sibly discussed the current problem of COVID-19 vaccination in Mali. Rural Site Coordinator, Dr. Amalle Daou Keita, spoke of the importance of community involvement in the fight against COVID-19. Dr. Ibrahima Teguete who is a Malian expert on HPV and cervical cancer, introduced the program's objectives.
A surveyor training was held on September 7 for 28 representatives of the 14 study sites by Dr. Tounkara and Project Assistant Mamadou Coulibaly. On September 9, an initial training for outreach workers was held at the ASACOBA clinic. "We went over questions, explained the study, how to approach people, how to complete consent forms, how to code what links the study-center and patient...a real enthusiasm for the study was expressed by the participants", Dr. Tounkara reported.
As the Delta variant continues to spread worldwide, there has been a reported increase in COVID-19 cases in Mali. Reports show an average increase of 8 new cases a day (though testing remains low). In total, there have been 14,647 confirmed cases and 534 deaths. However, good news has been reported. On August 5, 2021, Mali received 151,200 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from the United States and has plans to start a vaccination campaign soon. In total, about 0.44% of the population in Mali is currently vaccinated.
With the upward spread of COVID-19 infections, having the tools and supplies to continue the combat of the pandemic is essential. GAIA Vaccine Foundation’s campaign for COVID-19 prevention supplies directly supports the clinics in Bamako, Mali. Your donation of just $25 funds masks to be distributed to our healthcare staff and community members.
Covid-19 is once again making its way back into US news due to the highly contagious delta variant. Unfortunately, in the US cases have increased by 130% throwing us back to a place we were not expecting to return to.
The delta variant has landed in Africaand accounts for more than half of Africa’s reported cases as of last week. Dr.Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for Africa, has been quoted saying “The speed and scale of Africa’s third wave is like nothing we’ve seen before. The rampant spread of more contagious variants pushes the threat to Africa up to a whole new level. More transmission means more serious illness and more deaths, so everyone must act now and boost prevention measures to stop an emergency becoming a tragedy”.
The intensity of the delta variant makes having proper tools to combat Covid-19 that much more important. We are grateful to be in a place where we know what practices mitigate the spread. That is why GAIA Vaccine Foundation’s campaign for Covid-19 supplies is of the utmost importance. Our efforts in supplying proper PPE and implementing sanitary measures in the clinics in Bamako are directly supported by your donations. Your donation of 25 dollars funds masks to be distributed to our healthcare staff and community members.
Nana, a journalist in Bamako,Mali recently spoke with us regarding the Covid situation saying “Covid has changed our lives a lot. It’s not like before. Before I could go out with my three kids to the museums and restaurants. Right now I am scared of them coming into contact with the virus”. Nana speaks to the far too common concern we share when it comes to this pandemic. Let’s continue to be safe, wear masks, and help those the best way we can.
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