Mali is one of the poorest countries of the world, with the majority of its population living in its rural, desert areas. Health care services are extremely limited, and less than half of all Malian women give birth with a skilled health professional, making childbirth precarious and leading to consequences such as obstetric fistula.
EngenderHealth's activities in Mali focus on addressing obstetric fistula, a devastating childbirth-related injury caused by prolonged or obstructed labor without timely medical attention. Since 2008, the EngenderHealth-led Fistula Care project, supported by USAID, has assisted Gao Regional Hospital in northern Mali in their efforts to prevent and treat fistula.
At the Gao Regional Hospital, the project strengthens the capacity of doctors and nurses to provide surgical repair for fistula by providing regular refresher trainings. Fistula Care also conducts trainings in medical monitoring, facilitative supervision and counseling for fistula and family planning at Gao Hospital, as well as at the national Point G Hospital in Bamako and at health facilities in Segou and Mopti. The project is also collaborating with the nursing school and district health centers in Gao to further strengthen emergency obstetric care to better prepare medical professionals to prevent fistula while building their capacity to diagnose and refer fistula patients.
At the same time, Fistula Care works with local partners to raise awareness in communities about fistula and the importance of maternal health care, and to identify women with fistula who need treatment.
Collaborating with national and regional health officials as well as international organizations, including UNFPA, Fistula Care advocates for the implementation of the national strategy to address fistula and for the integration of fistula care and prevention policies, norms, and procedures with maternal and reproductive health.