Mali’s Community Health Program Could Serve As Example For Other Nations’ Primary Health Care Schemes

Financial Times: Mali’s ‘astounding’ community health program should be emulated
David Pilling, Africa editor at the Financial Times

“…Mali’s government this week announced it would provide free primary health care to all pregnant women and children under five nationwide. It will also offer free contraception and employ community health workers … across the country. The experiment marks a sharp reversal. … The reform, to be phased in over four years, will cost the Malian government an estimated $120m extra a year by 2022. It has committed to increasing the amount it spends on health care, but it will also receive funding from bilateral partners and the likes of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The need for external funding might suggest the scheme is too expensive — and thus unsustainable. Costs in Yirimadio run at an extra $6-13 per resident a year. But that is amazing value for money if the results can be replicated nationwide. … It is obvious, but spending on health (and education) is the basis of development. … In rapidly urbanizing Africa, where people live in ever denser clusters, it should be easier and more cost-effective to provide basic health. Mali’s initiative can — and should be — the start of a new trend” (2/27).

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