BAMAKO, Mali; July 2, 2019 – Zakat Foundation of America medical relief experts yesterday began distributing more than 12,000 desperately needed medical equipment items in and around this African nation’s industrial, densely populated capital — including transport beds and specialized surgical and dental instruments. The major aid effort comes amid new heights of inter-communal violence, armed conflicts, and rising internal displacement in Mali’s central region to the north and a long-standing human rights predicament of unpatriated Mauritanian refugees in the west.
“The items I’m most excited about are the Stryker transport beds we’re delivering among our five Zakat Foundation Health Centers Program clinics,” said Zakat Foundation Health Advisor Donna Demir.
“These donated gurneys are incredibly urgent pieces and will double as delivery beds for women in labor trying to make it into the clinics in highly congested urban areas. Often these women can no longer physically walk into the facilities once they arrive and actually end up birthing their babies literally on the dirt roads outside.”
Along with Zakat Foundation’s five Mali healthcare centers — part of a regulated and reputable medical consortium known by its French name Centres de Sante Communautaire (Community Health Centers) or CSCom — Bamako’s Point G National Teaching Hospital becomes a crucial recipient of highly specialized surgical instruments supplied by Zakat Foundation donors. The implements will help the center in its focused drive to bring down Mali’s high maternal mortality rates, due mostly to uterine ruptures and infections following birth.
“Our plan at Zakat Foundation is to continue our essential support to the high rate of women suffering from a condition called obstetric fistula, a tear that occurs between the vagina and rectum or bladder. That leaves these women unable to control their urination or defecation.”
The need for the right surgical equipment and something as basic as a proper transport bed form the main reasons Mali’s rate of this surgical crisis is so high. The condition has devastating ramifications for the women who suffer from it, but also on Malian society as a whole.
For one, Demir said, women with obstetric fistulas who cannot get prescribed treatment experience high levels of mental illness and emotional damage.
“Imagine being youthful yet afraid to stand because you leak urine or stool. You smell. You become ostracized. You stay alone. You were pregnant. Maybe your baby didn’t survive the labor. Some say you’re cursed. You start to believe it.”
That’s why Zakat Foundation donors supplied Malian women in this relief shipment more than the equipment to enable obstetricians to operate on them, and the beds to give birthing mothers a proper delivery experience that can help prevent the problem. They also sent thousands of adult diapers for those already suffering incontinence from it, until they can get treated.
“We know diapers aren’t a long-term solution,” Demir said. “So while we remain in contact with the physicians who will perform the necessary surgical repair procedures, during that long wait, the diapers our Zakat Foundation supporters have provided these women will enable them to stand up confidently, walk around, maybe even go out. The psychological, personal, and social benefits of these simple acts for these women and Malian society cannot be overstated.”
The medical relief shipment also includes hundreds of hygiene kits, hospital clothes, wheelchairs, slings, canes, walkers, crutches, and even toys for child patients.
Half of Mali’s population of 18.5 million lives below the $2-a-day poverty threshold the World Health Organization (WHO) set. Conflict since 2012 has increased health harms through population displacement — people Zakat Foundation clinics make a point to treat.
Zakat Foundation’s five Mali healthcare centers have already treated an estimated 64,000 patients. Its directors particularly selected these clinics because the people who govern them are not outsiders but are themselves members of the local communities where the centers provide treatment. This means they have firsthand knowledge of the real healthcare and health education needs of their neighbors.
Your generous gifts to the Zakat Foundation health clinics in Mali help make the difference between health and sickness for thousands of women, children, and families. Please give generously to our Mali Community Health Centers.
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Contact: Abbas Haleem
[email protected] | 1(708) 233-0555