Curative and preventive health care for children under five, for pregnant women, including those giving birth, as well as dialysis costs for the renally impaired, will now be free in Mali. The announcement was officially made by the President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Kéita, on February 25th, during the major conference on the reform of the health system which he chaired.
Medical care of people over 70 and emergency first aid, as well as family planning services, will also be free in all public health centres in Mali, announced Kéita in the presence of Malian Ministers of Health and Administration Reform, who will be primarily responsible for implementing the policy.
Since the announcement on Monday, these crucial health measures, previously never adopted in Mali, have been broadly applauded by the population, in a country where national health coverage is still well below the average.
"The implementation of this health reform is not a feat but a duty for the Government. Everywhere in Mali, where our fellow citizens are suffering, they must now have access to the minimum care required. How can we succeed in making men ready to build their country by the force of labour if they are overwhelmed by disease? " asked President Kéita.
According to the Malian Health Minister, Dr Samba Sow, this reform of the health system can be explained by the lack of technical platforms, poor governance of the health system and the growing rate of infant mortality in Mali. The health system in Mali is characterised by a weakness in key health indicators, especially those relating to pregnant women, newborns and the elderly, said Dr Sow.
"Mali's technical and financial partners have shown their interest and demonstrated their commitment by participating actively in the entire process of reflection surrounding these new health system reforms in our country," he added.
"The effort that is being made in Defence and Security in Mali, will also be made in the field of health. The government will reflect on a necessary restructuring of the hospital system aiming to significantly reduce infant and child mortality and other morbidity and mortality factors in Mali. To this end, the government will undertake to examine the possibility of increasing the allocation of the national budget devoted to the health sector," said President Kéita.