After keeping out the coronavirus weeks after it reached Africa, Mali this week registered two cases of the virus.
With parts of the country inaccessible to state services because of insurgent violence and inter-community conflicts, the arrival of the coronavirus is raising fears in the already battered country.
Amadou Koné, a researcher shared his perspectives on the compounding challenges: “We are in charge of diagnosing all the suspected cases in Mali.
“… so if somewhere in Mali we identify someone who has the symptoms, signs or who has been exposed because he has travelled or because he has travelled with someone who has been infected, then they send us and we are involved in the molecular diagnosis of those suspected cases.”
Hospitals in the capital Bamako have been trying in recent weeks to prepare themselves as best they can for the epidemic. In the district of Point G, an old disused building has been transformed into a containment centre with seven beds.
“If there is a confirmed case, the system will be quickly overwhelmed, because we have to quickly diagnose, identify all the contacts with them, diagnose them if they are positive and isolate them, so the national system will be overwhelmed,” Kone stressed.
The Ministry of Health says it only has about 50 ventilators for the whole country. Ventilators are important medical equipments needed for treatment of persons with the virus.
Despite the health risk surrounding the pandemic, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has confirmed that legislative elections, which have been postponed since 2018 will take place this Sunday.