| || |
Mali: report 2008
January 2008 : The start of the year is marked by the long-awaited visit of both presidents, the vice-president and her daughter Perrine who have come from Switzerland. The welcome they receive is warm and the contact they have with health personnel is very constructive.
The orphan aid programme is working well but we have to be constantly vigilant to avoid abuses of it.
Aware that we can't help the whole underprivileged population we have given the difficult task of identifying genuine orphans to BEBE.
We currently have 183 orphans in our care programme.
The Community Health Centre (CSCOM) is full with 9 infants, 7 of whom weigh less than 2 kilos. There are non-stop bottles to be given, every 3 hours day and night. These are used to supplement insufficient maternal milk. Each infant is given a milk which has been adapted to their needs based on their age, weight and height. The milk is given until a target weight is reached, this can take up to one month during which time the infant is hospitalised. After this the infant is brought once a week for a check up of weight and growth. The child remains under surveillance and receives free milk until they have fully recovered.
Orphans then join the orphan aid programme.
February 2008 : Temperatures continue to rise. The hot, dry wind, the Harmattan, whips up dust clouds which lead to colds and conjunctivitis. The harvest this year is very poor with much of it eaten by birds. This may be as a result of the insecticides used against the locust plagues in 2006. The poorest amongst the population will, once again, be the ones to suffer most.
Sophie is fighting on all fronts to combat malnutrition amongst the under fives. She has put in place nutrition training programmes for care workers. In collaboration with the Regional Department of Health (DRS) and Action Against Hunger (ACF) she organises the distribution of fortified milk, flour and medicines sent by UNICEF. Within a week all the region's Community Health Centres (CSCOM) are fully stocked and ready to deal with any cases of malnutrition. This distribution was organised using our new truck and will be the first of many. The truck requires minor repairs due to an oil leak, which are carried out by our driver Badra. He made all the deliveries in record time and is a good mechanic. The necessary spare parts will be sent from Switzerland.
March 2008 : Sophie goes to Bamako to renew her licence to operate in Mali. While there her computer is stolen so she is unable to send her usual detailed, monthly report. Despite this the children are doing well but there is much concern about the very high temperatures and the growing threat of conflict in the North.