1 November 1998
International staff: 13 National staff : 36 HIGH INCIDENCE OF BLINDNESS Mali's population of ten million is among the poorest in the world. The country's natural geography makes it subject to a large number of infectious and parasitic diseases. In March 1998, an MSF mobile team concluded a three-month project aimed at improving immunisation cover for under-fives among 50,000 semi-nomadic people in Ménaka. Working in partnership with the Ministry of Health, EPI covered the main diseases. A much longer term project based in Bamako is projected for the whole country, again in partnership with the authorities. This comprises epidemiological monitoring, management of epidemics, immunisation and case-handling. In Ansongo, in the northeast, MSF's efforts to strengthen the health system include support for training and supervision among health teams, supplies of essential drugs and rehabilitation of a peripheral health centre. In Koulikoro, eye care is integrated into primary health care and support provided for training and supervising medical and paramedical staff in ophthalmologic techniques in an effort to combat the high incidence of blindness arising from curable diseases. On the prevention side, the project aims to inform and raise awareness among a population of 1.733,000. The Sélingué project in the southwest provides support for revitalising district health centres and creating community-based health centres. Training and supervision is again an important part of the project, which also ensures supplies of essential drugs and rationalisation of the cost-recovery system and health management in the region.