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Mali Health Insurance

International medical insurance for those living or working in Mali. Customized Mali health insurance plans and quotes available.

Mali Medical Insurance

The Republic of Mali, a former French colony, is located in Western Africa, with Algeria to its north, Niger to its east, Guinea to its southwest, Senegal and Maurtania to its west, and Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast to its south. The Niger and Senegal rivers run through the south of Mali, which is where the majority of Malians live. Mali is a beautiful place rich in resources, such as gold, uranium, and salt. It has a unique terrain made up of the desert, plains, and valleys that covers its 1,240,000 sq. km. Mali, a place renowned as one of Africa’s centers of enlightenment, has a rich culture and history based on its musical and literary traditions.

The Mali constitution promises health care to all Malians. The Ministry of Health heads the development of policies, regulations, and strategies, but actual implementation is conducted by the National Health Directorate (DNS). The Ministry of Health members meet in the capital of Bamako to discuss strategies and policies. The orders are then passed on to each region, which is responsible for making any changes in order to fit specific local needs. Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world and is thus, unable to provide enough funding to its health sector. In 1999, health sector expenditure made up about 4.3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Mali also receives funding from donors and foreign aid. Despite the investments that have gone into the Malian health sector, the health care system remains broken because of a lack or organization, corruption, and misappropriation of funds.

Currently, the government is focusing on decentralization, to provide healthcare to as many Malians as possible. However, this has proven to be a difficult challenge because the bulk of Mali’s economy is based on agriculture and fishing, which means the majority of its population to live in rural areas. The spread of medical personnel is extremely disproportionate between rural and urban areas. The capital itself has 4,030 healthcare personnel, while the rest of the country has 3,279 workers. Plans to decentralize would grant the National Hospitals to have more management responsibilities and less intervention from the central government. Despite the challenges present, the Regional Health Directorates (DRS) of each region are stepping up and putting more effort into the implementation and expansion of their regional health programs.

In 1998, the Mali started making big strides in improving its health sector. They began with the National Health Program that was designed to target the poor and rural parts of the country. Initially, the program made great improvements. Out-of-pocket spending was decreased from 79 percent of all healthcare expenditure in the country in 1999 to 48 percent in 2007. In addition, more rural citizens had access to health care. This is evident in the reduction of the maternal mortality rate. In 1995, this rate was 577 deaths per 100,000 births. In 2005, this rate decreased to 464 per 100,000 births. Although the progress has been slow and gradual, improvements are being made.

The Malian health care system is organized into a four-tier system. At the top are the three national hospitals, Point G, Gabriel Touré, and Kati. These hospitals provide the best healthcare in the country. They even have some advanced facilities. However, even at these hospitals, there are many issues with overcrowding, a lack of up-to-date equipment, and insufficient medical supplies. Mali also has research institutions in Bamako, which also treat patients. At the second tier are the 7 regional hospitals. The regional hospitals also may have some advanced facilities, but, generally, still lack equipment, supplies, and medicine. Understaffing is also a large issue for the Malian healthcare system. The regional hospitals supervise the Centre de Santé de Centre de Santé de Référence (CSREF, Referral Health Center), which can be found in each district. The CSREF then look over the Centre de Santé Communautaire (CSCOM, Community Health Center), which acts as health care facilities at the community level. These centers only have basic medical care and are specialized in maternity and pediatric care.

At each level of the system, Malians have to pay for the consultation, medicine, and supplies required for their care. Citizens can become members of the Association de Santé Communautaire (ASACO, Community Health Association), which will cost them an annual membership fee, but will give them discounted consultation fees and have their consultation fees waived if their conditions require them to be referred to a higher level in the system.

Although the goal is to provide health care to all of its citizens, many problems plague the Malian government’s efforts. Extreme poverty is one of the biggest obstacles in improving healthcare. As mentioned earlier, the majority of funding comes from foreign donors. This means that the government’s ability to maintain a stable system is limited. In 2001, the Malian government’s expenditure on the healthcare was about $4 USD per capita. Poverty inevitably also affects the population’s ability to feed itself. Malnutrition is another serious health problem. Malnutrition leads to weaker immune systems, which increases the number of people that the health sector has to take care of. Furthermore, poor hygiene and sanitation compound the health problems that Malians face. As of 2000, only 69 percent of people had access to sanitation services. Even more critical, only 62-65 percent of the people had access to clean drinking water. Together, all these problems lead Mali to have its health and development indicators ranked as one of the worst in the world. On the bright side, only about 1.9 percent of Malians are infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), which ranks it as one of the lowest rates of infection in Africa.

Death from birth complications is also a major problem in Mali because of the traditional practice of female genital cutting. In 2001, the World Health Organization (WHO) found that approximately 91.6 percent of Malian girls and women have had some form of female genital cutting. The government and local religious authorities have made attempts to educate and deter the public from continuing this harmful practice, but it still remains a prevalent tradition. In a society that greatly values purity in women, it is believed that cutting the female genitals will decrease libido and discourage infidelity. However, without proper sterilization, wound dressing, and training, many women end up with life-threatening problems due to female genital cutting especially immediately after the procedure or during child-rearing later in life.

The WHO has been actively working to help Mali in improving its healthcare. The Epidemic and Pandemic Alert and Response unit (EPR) has helped curb various diseases such as yellow fever and cholera from breaking out several times. In addition, the WHO is working to decrease the number of deaths from birth complications, which includes educating Malians on the dangers of female genital cutting. The primary diseases afflicting Malians include malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, cholera, pneumonia, and arthropod-borne diseases, such as schistosomiasis, trypanosomiasis, and onchocerciasis. The WHO has been focusing on educating remote areas of Mali and eliminating these diseases.

Travelers to Mali are able to use all local healthcare facilities. However, be warned that the conditions and quality of care available at these locations are below standards of Western Europe and North America. Tourists and expatriates are highly advised to purchase an international health insurance policy before entering Mali. Outside of the capital, medical facilities are few and only provide the most basic health services. Even if there are health facilities, up-front payment is usually required. A policy that covers evacuation costs is also recommended. If in the event of a serious illness or injury in a rural area, medical transportation costs can be very expensive.

The WHO has been actively working to help Mali in improving its healthcare. The Epidemic and Pandemic Alert and Response unit (EPR) has helped curb various diseases such as yellow fever and cholera from breaking out several times. In addition, the WHO is working to decrease the number of deaths from birth complications, which includes educating Malians on the dangers of female genital cutting. The primary diseases afflicting Malians include malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, cholera, pneumonia, and arthropod-borne diseases, such as schistosomiasis, trypanosomiasis, and onchocerciasis. The WHO has been focusing on educating remote areas of Mali and eliminating these diseases.

Recommended vaccinations include diphtheria, hepatitis A, rabies, tetanus, typhoid, and yellow fever. Malaria is also prevalent in Mali, so be sure to ask your doctor for anti-malarial medicine beforehand. Insect repellant, avoiding stagnant bodies of water, and bed nets are also recommended to avoid being bitten by a malaria-carrying mosquito. Clean drinking water may also be unavailable, so be sure to avoid ice cubes and always bring your own bottled water. In addition, avoid swimming in fresh water or pools unless it has been chlorinated and are certain to be safe. Avoid dairy products unless it has been made from boiled milk. Vegetables, meat, and fish should be fully cooked before consumption. Fruits should also be peeled.

Pacific Prime can assist you with any international, travel, or health insurance needs if you decide to travel to Mali. We offer professional advice at no cost to you. No matter what your budget is or what your requirements are, our professional consultants can help find a policy that fits you or your group. Our policies can cover a wide range of services including dental, maternity, specialist consultation, transportation, inpatient services, and many more. Please contact us today for a free consultation.

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