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" This Could be an Opportunity of a Lifetime."

Muso Board Vice Chair’s Reflections on Her Recent Field Visit

Muso Board Member and co-founder Jessica Beckerman (left), Aissata Thiam (center) and Muso co-founder and Pharmacy Stock Manager Fousseni Traoré, PharmD (right).

From left to right: 1. CHW Home Visit with Muso CHW Supervisor Cheickna Hamalla Diawara (left). 2. A family visited by Aissata during her time shadowing a Muso CHW. 3. Muso Board Member Aissata Thiam (left) and Muso Program Director, Djoumé Diakité, MD (right)

In May 2017, Muso welcomed a delegation of members from our Board of Directors to Muso’s Headquarters in Bamako to continue learning from Muso’s patients and deepen staff-Board relations. Board Vice Chair, Aissata Thiam, joined Muso’s Board in 2016 and this was her second visit to Muso’s Bamako offices. Aissata was born and raised in Mali, and attended graduate school in France, where she earned her MS in Physics and Doctorate in Biophysics. She is the Senior Vice President of Partnerships and Marketing for Jesca Solutions, and is a member of Maliwatch and MSAS, grassroots non-profit organizations involved in community outreach in Mali.  

Read on to hear Aissata’s reflections from the Board delegation’s visit:

I think this is a defining moment for Muso in many ways. The kickoff of the Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) and the opening of the Bankass health centers has come at a crucial time and could position Muso as a role model. —Aissata Thiam, Muso's Board Vice Chair

I want to express all my gratitude and that of an entire country for the pioneering work that Muso is doing in Yirimadjo and now Bankass. The training and the high standards for our Community Health Workers (CHWs), the engagement and the dedication in raising the quality of community health care in Mali and beyond, the advocacy for a better health care system in Mali, and the evidence-based research and results in terms of maternal and child mortality are just a few things that make me proud.

We had a very productive Board meeting where all of us in Mali had a chance to bring the rest of the Board members up to speed on the amazing turning point Muso is experiencing. It is always a pleasure to meet the Mali team. From day one, they shared key progress on their activities on the ground, progress on the construction and operations of the new health centers in Bankass, the successful kickoff of the RCT, and the explosion in the number of home and clinic visits.

The launch of the RCT will help Muso build up an observatory for community health in Bankass and later in the entire Mopti region. I was surprised by the huge progress made by the Mali team in terms of operations strategies, how well their plans met and exceeded expectations, the logistics in starting and operating the health centers, Muso’s advocacy initiatives, and their internal communications plans. I have good faith that we are heading in the right direction.

The World Health Organization just announced that they will help deploy 12 million Community Health Workers throughout the world. For Mali and perhaps the entire west African region, this could be an opportunity of a lifetime to become a reference and scale our CHW model. On the government front, there is an obvious opening for Muso to be part of the advocacy for universal health care and scaling up the CHW model along with other global partners like the WHO, UNICEF, GLOBAL FUND, PSI, and USAID.

One of my greatest highlights from this trip was reflecting on a half-day CHW visit I went on. We visited five different families and I was humbled and so inspired by the CHW’s impact on these people’s lives. I appreciated her closeness to her families, and could feel their reliance on her expertise, despite her limited formal education. The role that the CHWs played during the recent health care strike this March-April was heartwarming. In Yirimadjo and beyond, Muso patients received great critical care from CHWs when others were getting worse and even dying due to a lack of care or qualified health personnel on call.

Being born and raised in Mali, I have seen it change. It was a treat to get to spend time with my family as well as my childhood friends. It was with immense pride that I told them about Muso and the amazing job they are doing for all of us.”


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