February 25, 2017 marked an historic day in Muso’s development as well as that of the rural district of Bankass, in Mali. Hundreds of men, women, and children came together in celebration of the opening of seven rehabilitated and expanded health centers, and unprecedented access to universal health coverage.
The Muso team opened care to nearly 100,000 of Mali’s most vulnerable rural citizens in a single day, bringing Muso’s direct service delivery to 300,000. This launch event marked the rollout of one of the world’s largest research studies on community health. Read more about Muso’s research study here.
Each of the seven launch sites sent cultural representatives to the celebration’s host site, Doundé, along with health staffers from the Malian government, as a show of their commitment to improving health in their communities: traditional horsemen, blacksmiths, and dancers; the regional governor, director of health, local mayors, and the Muso team.
Dr. Fousseni Diarra, the medical director at the Doundé health center, expressed a sentiment echoed many times in the lead up to today’s launch at the various clinics: We never thought it was possible. But once construction began on the health center, we knew something was different about Muso.
During his speech to the crowd, Muso’s Chief Operations Officer, Dr. Isaac Kulimushi, highlighted Muso’s role in the social sector as a major jobs creator in this remote region: over 200 jobs were created in less than a year. Moreover, the jobs Muso creates are designed to save lives.
After the festivities, everyone was welcomed to the ribbon cutting ceremony, where Dr. Kulimushi and the regional Governor did the honors, to raucous applause. Everyone was welcomed to tour their brand new health facility for the first time: consultation rooms, maternity ward, vaccination center, and recovery wards. The excitement throughout the visit was palpable.
I wanted to work for Muso because they declare ‘santé avant tout’ – health before everything. Without good health we have nothing. I’m proud to serve my village. —Mohammadoun Gana, one of Muso’s new CHWs in the village of Pansandougou, in the Lessagou health center’s catchment area.
His sentiments are echoed by so many of our other new CHW recruits, who officially begin their work this week.
At the end of the day, the launch’s hundreds of visitors begin their journeys home, many heading miles across the remote, rambling sandy tracks that crisscross the rural desert. In the morning, many of these community members will be visited for the first time by a Community Health Worker, and the real work begins.
Below, some snapshots from the day’s festivities: