3 October 2013
Gao — Rows of shutter-less windows line the administration corridor at a referral health centre in Mali’s northern city of Gao. The centre’s equipment was looted and its staff fled during the nine-month-long Islamist rebel occupation that followed the country’s March 2012 coup; services have just barely resumed.
Healthcare has been severely impaired throughout northern Mali, where the militant Islamists seized key towns during the crisis. The rebels were ousted by French forces in January, but recovery of the sector has been slow.
Nearly half of Gao’s 69 health centres were completely or partially damaged during the Islamist occupation. In the ancient city of Timbuktu, 45 percent of health structures were entirely or partly destroyed, and 70 percent were damaged in the northeastern Kidal region, says the World Health Organization (WHO).