Sounds from the Sahel: Mali Song of the Week

Salif Keita – Folon

Wow. One whole year since Keita made an apperance on the Hub – last appearing here within the midst of the ebola pandemic. Where does the time go? Since Mali’s successful response to the outbreak the Health Ministry has been using its time to learn the lessons and use them to tackle other national health problems like child mortality. Impressively, the Health Ministry will focus on a pro-active and pragmatic ‘door to door’ approach to identifying symptoms. All too often people in Mali, owing to overwhelming costs of healthcare, will ignore symptoms in blind hope of recovery and will only seek medical assistance when conditions become unbearable. Tragically, by this time they are usually untreatable and a terrible rate of mortality, especially amongst children, prevails.

Are these solutions affordable for the government and its people? Proudly, Mali Development Group have been working with Malian local authorities and charities in the Yanfolila region of south-west Mali for a number of years now, providing funds for a ‘mutuelle’ healthcare provision scheme – making preventative medcine more affordable and accessible to Malian families and there at the early stages –  when they need it most. Look at any ebola outbreak map and it is easy to see that the Yanfolila region, with its proximity to worst-hit Guiena, was the most vulnerable region and had to serve as the buffer against the disease to the millions living 20km up the road in Bamako. Community health is a crucially important issue for the area, indeed the country, for humanitarian, economic and security reasons – ebola showed that a disease left to its own divices can lead to any society to completely “unravel”. Malaria for example remains a huge problem. Mali’s friends, communities, charities, and now government – its seems – acknowledge the importance of preventative action in regards to health, and have hopefully come up with a workable – and proven – plan to deliver it. This is very welcome news and hard to believe when thinking back to the oblivion facing West African countries a mere 12 months ago.


Salif Keita – Folon


Sam Garbett is Public Affairs Coordinator for the Mali Development Group –

To get in touch with Sam for further information he’d be happy to hear from you at Any comments and ideas for improving the Hub are especially welcome. We all look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for tuning in.

The Mali Interest Hub is an initiative run by the Mali Development Group, supported by the Alliance for Mali.

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