By Selena Ross

 

WASHINGTON — Here’s a fact-based snapshot of Mali and its health challenges that the U.S. government has spotlighted in its initial work through the Global Health Initiative:

 

MALI

 

Total GHI spending:
FY 2009: $35 million
FY 2010: $51 million

 

Total population: 14 million
GDP per capita: $686

 

The number of malaria episodes the average child under 5 suffers each year: 2
Proportion of population under 25 years old: two-thirds

 

Major health concerns in the country:
1) Generally poor maternal and child health, including an extremely high rate of birth-related deaths, and a vast unmet need for family planning
2) Tropical diseases, especially malaria, which is Mali’s leading cause of death and largely affects pregnant women and young children

 

GHI’s main goals: Expand the network of community health workers, especially in hard-to-reach rural areas; improve care for children infected with malaria and access to insecticide-treated bed nets; encourage families to space births further apart in order to improve mothers’ and children’s health

 

GHI on the ground: New training is planned for health care workers in rural areas of Mali. These workers will be recruited from their own communities, will receive nurse training, and will provide advice and basic health care. They will treat uncomplicated malaria cases, refer more serious cases to nearby services, and connect women with birth control if they want it.

 

(Sources: CIA; GHI country strategy documents; Kaiser Family Foundation; UN; www.foreignassistance.gov)

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