After a series of obstacles and delays caused by COVID and political unrest in Mali, a new high-quality medical care facility has opened its doors at the end of February. Most importantly, it will be affordable for low-income populations who often struggle to access healthcare. The opening ceremony has received extensive media coverage, including TV, indicating how valuable this new hospital is for rural communities and the entire Malian health sector.
The healthcare capacity in Mali is limited, both for the poor and rich. While impoverished communities struggle to access medical services, Malian middle-class and wealthy individuals prefer to travel to Tunisia or France to receive modern health services that were impossible to get in the country until today. For years no one ventured to break the vicious circle of underinvestment in the health sector until Amadou Sow, the clinic’s promoter, decided to bring medical services to all Malians.
Initially, the promoter was hoping to open the clinic doors in the summer of 2021, but the COVID-19 crisis and political unrest brought many complications and delays to the project, heightening all the challenges of the health sector in Mali. Since all medical materials, including smaller ones such as gloves and syringes, had to be imported, Amadou had to face many delays in sourcing the equipment amidst the pandemic. However, the promoter decided to wait until every little detail was in place so that every patient could get the best care possible.
Another Covid-relate hold-up was obtaining the license agreement from the board of Doctors in Mali; a procedure that should not take more than six months took two years. Despite all the difficulties and setbacks, the state-of-the-art clinic is up and running, boasting modern facilities to treat a broad array of medical conditions.
One of the main preoccupations of Amadou is finding a balance between financial sustainability and keeping the social mission of unlocking health services to low-income populations afloat. “This mission guided the clinic project from the beginning: Les Oranger, contrary to other medical facilities located closer to wealthier clientele in the centre, is built on the outskirts of Bamako to facilitate the access of the rural populations. In addition, the clinic team is working on flexible paying schemes for the marginalized communities so that everyone can afford essential medical care,” says Amadou.
Besides, the clinic will participate in national health initiatives like screening and vaccination programs. “No wonder local authorities highly encouraged this project. They have collaborated with Amadou to make the clinic accessible, building a road to connect it with the city. This will prove to be a valuable perk for rural populations living close to the clinic, especially during the rainy season,” comments Mariam Niangado, CIM’s Investment Manager in Mali.
CIM’s 1.5M EUR funding has been genuinely catalytic for this project. But the impact goes beyond that: the investment shows that change in the stagnant industry is possible and encourages other investors to join in. As the industry draws in more funding from impact investors, more and more people from marginalized communities will have access to treatment facilities.
Confident in the clinic’s capacity, highly-trained doctors and medical personnel, Amadou promotes the clinic and spreads the word across Mali. He hopes to reverse the trend with the clinic so that the wealthy clients can get treated locally instead of going abroad. This would allow the medical industry to gradually become sustainable, evolve, and grow.