IntraHealth International to Lead $4.9 Million Health Workforce Strengthening Effort in Mali

health worker takes a woman's blood pressure in Mali

Photograph by Trevor Snapp for IntraHealth International

Through a new $4.9 million, three-year award from the US Agency for International Development, IntraHealth International will partner with the government of Mali to strengthen its health workforce, scale up progress in maternal and child survival, and protect its citizens from emerging health threats such as Ebola and pandemic influenza.

Mali has significantly reduced its maternal, newborn, and under-five mortality rates in the last twenty years. But despite these efforts, the country continues to have some of the highest rates of preventable maternal and child deaths in the world, due in part to a severe shortage of qualified health workers. This same shortage also makes Mali vulnerable to emerging infectious diseases and other health security threats.

The World Health Organization recommends at least 2.3 doctors, nurses, and midwives per 1,000 people to provide basic health services, but Mali has only 0.41 per 1,000 people. Recruitment and retention in rural and peri-urban areas are ongoing challenges exacerbated by Mali’s fast-growing population (which has an annual growth rate of 3%) and the ongoing instability and conflict in the northern part of the country. Most qualified health workers are concentrated in Bamako and other urban areas.

The USAID/Mali Human Resources for Health Strengthening Activity will help build a strong and connected health workforce to realize Mali’s 10-year health and social development goals as well as the objectives of the US Global Health Security Agenda. The project will:

  • Build Mali’s capacity to coordinate an effective response to global health security threats.
  • Improve the management and use of health workforce data for use in planning and decision-making.
  • Strengthen preservice health education.
  • Apply evidence-based recruitment, retention, and motivation strategies to ramp up staffing levels in the health facilities most in need.

The project will build on IntraHealth’s 16 years of experience collaborating with the government of Mali and the US Agency for International Development to improve the accessibility and quality of health services throughout the country, including by improving maternal and child health services, preservice education, information systems, and obstetric fistula care and prevention, and by supporting coalitions of civil society organizations to become effective advocates for family planning. The project will be led by Dr. Jeanne Tessougué, a public health professional with more than ten years of experience leading and managing health programs.

IntraHealth will lead this work in close collaboration with the government of Mali and other national stakeholders in accordance with the country’s Human Resources for Health Policy and Strategic Plan.