13 DECEMBER 2013, Dakar
The mortality rate among children under age five living in Yirimadjo, Mali, southeast of the capital, Bamako, decreased by nearly tenfold over three years after the Malian Ministry of Health and NGOs Tostan and Muso introduced a new healthcare model: proactively seeking out patients and treating them early.
A study on the programme, by researchers from Harvard Medical School and the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), published this week in PLoS ONE found under-five mortality dropped from 155 deaths per 1,000 children to 17 deaths per 1,000.
„The intervention was based on a simple but powerful hypothesis,“ said Ari Johnson, a researcher at UCSF School of Medicine and co-author of the study. „If we reorganize and redesign the way health systems reach patients early, could it be possible to avert a large number of child deaths?“
While under-five child mortality rates have been declining throughout Mali over the past decade – from an average of 197 deaths per 1,000 in 2002 to 130 per 1,000 in 2012, according to the researchers, this intervention has produced dramatic results.