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Mali: report 2006
January 2006: We learn that the process for application for a framework agreement has changed. We need to make up a file, travel to Bamako to deposit the demand for authorisation to operate then deposit another file at the CADB (Unit for Basic Development Support) and then await the ministerial signature, this will take three return trips from Gao to Bamako. Our remoteness from the capital doesn't help the administrative process.
The distributions of milk are still made in the courtyard of the Townhall. We have to replace our assistant Asseita as she is not suitable. Dahra's cousin Max will come twice to help Sophie, then Sourghou will take over. He is an imposing figure but kind and efficient
The harmattan blows in January. Despite the cold none of the children are ill, apart from several colds, and the plump little babies are a pleasure to see.
The nutrition unit of the hospital is working well and justifies it's existence every day. The staffs are impressive and work with one aim; to give back life to these malnourished children and support them until they have reached their target weight and no longer need help.
February 2006: This month will be marked by the two week visit of the Swiss President of the AAG. In her report she notes that the team are dedicated to their task of improving the living conditions of the local people. It is however, necessary for the local people to work with the team and to make a particular effort in the fields of education, cleanliness, hygiene and health. Simple, inexpensive solutions exist, all that is needed is the desire to put them in place.
She finds it deplorable that so many children fail to go to school and are instead sent onto the streets to beg. This is a serious problem that needs addressing. What future is there for these children if they are taught that they can earn a living just by holding out their hands? Unfortunately, in Mali , and particularly in Gao, this subject is taboo. The government must recognise this practice (like that of female circumcision and marriage at a very young age) as illegal and a contravention of the rights of the child.
After helping at two milk distributions in the courtyard of the Townhall, the President can see that it is becoming impossible to maintain discipline amongst the adults. The women argue and jostle for no apparent reason. The children cry. Sometimes it is necessary to ask the Townhall guards to restore order. A more appropriate location is vital in order to make check-ups on the children. We are placing a lot of hope in our construction project with our Challenge 2006 .
An information evening on malnutrition is organised by the AAG and the DRPFEF with the assistance of the paediatric service and the nutrition unit of the Gao hospital, at the Maison des Arts. All the Gao authorities are there. The audience's attention is drawn to the scale of the problem with the aid of music, poems, sketches, film, a PowerPoint presentation and exhibitions. The funds raised will be used to refurbish the newborn babies room.
Malnutrition is always present and everyday sees new cases being admitted to hospital. The children are cared for by the paediatric care team. This exemplary work must be recognised. The nutrition unit demands a lot of dedication and professionalism. Thanks go to Julio, Lala, Kotoum, Sidibé and all the others who work in the wings. As for Sophie who has devoted her heart and soul to her work, she is quite simply remarkable. Well done to all the team.
Weekly milk distribution
A malnourished child at the Gao hospital
The staff of the paediatric and nutrition services