Providing Healthcare in Armed Conflict: The Case of Mali

Due to ongoing conflict and insecurity in northern Mali, 1.8 million people require humanitarian health assistance, and 2.5 million are considered food insecure. Given the level of need, Mali’s healthcare system is ill-equipped to respond, and humanitarian health actors play an important role filling the gaps.

This issue brief maps the challenges these health actors face and assesses their response. It accompanies a policy paper published in 2018 entitled “Hard to Reach: Providing Healthcare in Armed Conflict,” as well as another case study on provision of healthcare in Nigeria. These papers aim to assist UN agencies, NGOs, member states, and donor agencies in providing and supporting the provision of adequate health services to conflict-affected populations.

This issue brief concludes with recommendations for how health actors can improve delivery of health services in Mali:

  • UN agencies, international NGOs, and donors should continue to focus on strengthening and supporting Mali’s community healthcare structures.
  • Military, political, and humanitarian actors need to preserve the humanitarian space in Mali.
  • Relevant UN agencies, local and international health NGOs, donors, and the Ministry of Health should place greater emphasis on noncommunicable diseases, particularly mental health.
  • Humanitarian health actors and donors, as well as development actors and global health actors, should improve coordination with each other on the health response.
  • Humanitarian health actors should better ensure that they are accountable for the health services they provide, in particular to affected populations.