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.
s the US is in full swing of summer and the CDC recently announced that ~45.5% of adults are fully vaccinated, we as a country are in a very fortunate place compared to where we were just last year. In Africa the same cannot be said. Vaccine rollout has not had the same sense of urgency or funding as the US. As of late, BBC reported that vaccine shortages have caused major roadblocks in getting the vaccine to Africa. The same article reports that “only about two doses of vaccine have been administered per 100 people, compared with an average of 68 doses per 100 in high-income countries”.
The slow speed of vaccination along with a dulled sense of urgency to receive it has created a potentially dangerous situation in Mali due to the contagiousness of the Delta Variant. The World Health Organization has reported this variant as the “fastest and fittest” for good reason. This of course makes those who are unvaccinated at a higher risk of falling in and spreading it.
GAIA Vaccine Foundation is hoping to continue to support the Covid-19 supplies needed in Mali. This includes PPE supplies, food for our healthcare workers, and testing opportunities. As we all know, testing is an incredibly important tool in combating Covid, and for $125 you can supply the testing patients need in Bamako, Mali.
Your support is truly appreciated and seen. Thank you for continuing to follow along as we work to support those who are battling Covid in ways we are not. Working together we can continue to fight this pandemic!
Since its' founding, GAIA Vaccine Foundation has worked in Mali's capital of Bamako. Due to the larger population and lifestyle of city living makes the spread of COVID-19 that much more likely. That is why our campaign for COVID-19 Clinic Supplies is an essential part of the efforts of combatting this pandemic.
Despite access to COVID-19 vaccines becoming common place in the United States, as of late only a reported 0.24% of the population in Mali is fully vaccinated, meaning other measures must be taken to reduce transmission. GAIA VF is actively trying to implement measures in preventing COVID-19 in Mali, such as proper PPE for our staff and patients, as well as the accessibility to masks and other equipment that is not readily available.
For just $25 GAIA VF can provide masks for distribution protecting the safety of our staff and patients. Taking care of our staff is of the utmost importance to us, and with your help we can continue to make this our priority.
Donate today to help GAIA VF make a difference in the spread of Covid-19.
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