|Date: 11/05/2012 Time: 11:25:00 AM
Access to health care is a major challenge for
people in northern Mali affected by armed violence.
In Gao, the hospital is operational again thanks to the efforts of the
ICRC, which among other things has delivered surgical supplies.
"Only a few weeks ago, the hospital was deserted by its personnel and
looted. It did not have water or electricity, because there was no fuel to run
its generator," said Attaher Maiga, the head of the ICRC office in Gao.
"People living in and around Gao were in considerable distress. There were
pregnant women who died because they could not obtain suitable care, and
victims of gunshot wounds who found themselves in appalling circumstances."
Today, 10 May, the ICRC is delivering to the hospital a large quantity of
surgical supplies brought in from Niamey, in neighbouring Niger. This aid is
in addition to two deliveries of medicines and medical supplies to Gao that
took place in April. Altogether, enough aid has been supplied to care for
nearly 500 patients suffering from illness and around 100 requiring treatment
The return of some hospital staff made it possible for the ICRC to support
the resumption of activities in the hospital, which is the referral medical
facility for the entire region.
As soon as the first days of violence and looting had passed, the ICRC and
the Mali Red Cross realised the extent of the devastation in Gao's hospital.
In order to restore and maintain the hospital's independent power supply
and drinking water production, the ICRC has been supplying fuel for the
generator since 12 April.
Over the past few days, two doctors and a nurse have arrived to bolster the
staff made available to the hospital by the ICRC. A nurse and a midwife had
already been working there for a month. In addition, a surgeon and an
anaesthetist were in the hospital from 21 to 24 April to assess needs.
Thanks to the efforts of the health-care personnel and support from the
ICRC, Gao hospital is up and running again.
Between 12 April and 9 May, around 1,200 patients were seen by the staff,
including nearly 230 expectant mothers. A total of 93 deliveries, including 18
caesarians, were performed.
In addition, over 460 children were provided with care, mainly for
diarrhoeal diseases or malaria. During the same period, nine wounded patients
underwent emergency surgery.