Mauritania 2012 Lynsey Addario/VII
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international medical humanitarian organization that assists people threatened by violence, disease, malnutrition, and natural disaster. Donations from Global Giving helped to support MSF’s response to new emergencies and its nutritional programs assisting children caught in chronic crises.
Example of an MSF Program Funded by Your Support
Chronic malnutrition is widespread in the West African nation of Mali. In a typical year, more than 40% of children suffer from malnutrition in the Sikasso region of southern Mali, and without help, one in five children die before their fifth birthday.
Malnutrition makes children more susceptible to pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, measles, or meningitis—an often deadly combination. Malnutrition, along with many of these diseases, is preventable and treatable, yet the vast majority of children in Mali do not have access to the medical care or nutrition necessary to save them.
MSF runs a project in the Koutiala district of the Sikasso region, where MSF teams treat malnutrition, malaria, and other deadly diseases, and are developing sustainable models to keep children healthy in the long term. Launched in 2009 in collaboration with the Malian Ministry of Health, MSF teams—made up of eight international staff and 218 locally-hired staff—offer free pediatric care and vaccinations to children under age five. The program is implemented at four public health centers and the district hospital in Koutiala, one of the Sikasso region’s main cities, and at two public health centers in nearby Konseguela. MSF provides the centers with additional staffing, as well as medicines and therapeutic food. Children requiring hospitalization are transferred to Koutiala hospital where MSF set up a pediatric intensive care unit and a therapeutic feeding center. The MSF program puts an emphasis on training local staff to promote the integration of nutritional care and disease prevention into existing health structures, with a goal of developing a sustainable program that reduces child mortality.
Last year, the program provided access to free nutritional and pediatric care to all children under age five living in the catchment area of Koutiala district. More than 7,500 children with severe acute malnutrition received treatment, more than 80,000 pediatric consultations were conducted at the outpatient clinics, and 165,000 children received anti-malaria drugs as part of a new prevention program.