After decades of suffering some of the highest maternal and child mortality rates in the world, Mali has vowed to provide free healthcare for pregnant women and children under five in an attempt to revamp its historically inadequate healthcare system.​

new hope in the fight against maternal and child mortality

In March 2019, the Malian government announced a series of sweeping health-system reforms, developed during CVD-Mali Director Professor Samba Sow’s tenure as Minister of Health and Public Hygiene.

These reforms coincided with similar reforms announced by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organisation. Both sets of reforms have a central focus on providing Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Universal Health Coverage is a vision whereby all people and communities are able to access quality health services as and when they need them, and that they are able to do so without suffering financial hardship as a result. UHC includes the full spectrum of services needed throughout life—from health promotion to prevention, to treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care and is predicated on a strong primary health care system.

CVD-Mali is fully committed to working towards the implementation of Universal Health Coverage, through a focus on improving and extending primary health care throughout Mali.

Free maternal and child health care

The Government’s health care reforms, spearheaded by Prof. Samba Sow, Director of CVD-Mali, during his tenure as Minister of Health and Public Hygiene, aim to repeal user fees for children under-five and for pregnant women and to offer family planning services free of charge to all women. The Government will create a national cohort of Community Health Workers charged with providing essential services free of charge to all in need at the community level.

primary healthcare research

Mali, like many African countries, is attempting to move towards Universal Health Coverage through robust primary health care systems – albeit with limited resources and enduring issues regarding its health workforce. It is vitally important, then, that the implementation of these interventions is evidence-based and that they are implemented to a high standard.

At a time when donors, policymakers and programme managers are being asked to improve efficiency, with limited resources, in order to achieve scalability and increase impact, CVD-Mali is playing a central role in helping to bring the government’s reforms to fruition.

a proven track record

As an internationally-respected research institute, CVD-Mali is well placed to support the reforms in both Mali and across West Africa. It can do so by carrying out operational research to ensure cost effective implementation, allied with high impact.

Innovative and open-minded approaches to cross-sector collaboration are key – methods in which CVD-Mali has a proven track record. Of equal importance is the need to ensure that the interventions selected for development drive the development of new and sustainable programmes, selecting high-potential interventions with the greatest possible opportunity for evidence-based, cost-effective impact.