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Mali: a forgotten patch of desert...

21-02-1996 News Release 96/07

In the next few weeks the ICRC will launch a medical aid and rehabilitation operation in the Bourem area of northern Mali, between Gao and Timbuktu, which has been ravaged since 1990 by fighting between government forces and rebel movements from the north. The health-care system, totally disrupted by looting of equipment and stocks, has not been working for the past five years and children have not received vaccinations.

An ICRC doctor has carried out a survey this month of the health-care situation in the area to find out what kind of aid the population needs. The priority is to assist local Malian staff in getting the four dispensaries in the Bourem area going again and to put together a new vaccination team. In order to serve a partly nomadic population scattered over tens of thousands of square kilometres, 30 people have already been trained in first aid and public hygiene, enabling them to provide basic health care.