Proactive Health Care Model Reduces Child Mortality In Mali, Study Shows

“The mortality rate among children under age five living in Yirimadjo, Mali, southeast of the capital, Bamako, decreased by nearly tenfold over three years after the Malian Ministry of Health and NGOs Tostan and Muso introduced a new health care model: proactively seeking out patients and treating them early,” IRIN reports. “A study on the program, by researchers from Harvard Medical School and the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), published this week in PLOS ONE found under-five mortality dropped from 155 deaths per 1,000 children to 17 deaths per 1,000,” according to the news service. The program “focused the health care redesign on ‘ultra-rapid access’ to care and prevention services,” including education programs, and “involved removing user fees for those who cannot afford to pay,” IRIN notes.

“All parties involved in the intervention said it is important to note that there are limitations to the study,” IRIN writes. “Most notably, there was no control group, and without that, researchers say it is impossible to attribute the drop in child mortality solely to the intervention,” the news service states, adding, “Other factors, such as demographic changes, including immigration, could have affected the decrease.” According to IRIN, “Researchers say they are now planning a follow-up to further characterize the role of each element of the intervention in reducing child mortality” (12/13).