Tools to Solve the Child Mortality Crisis Could Come from an Unlikely Corner: Mali
As world leaders gather this week in New York to set new goals for global health, a solution for saving millions of children’s lives may emerge from an unlikely place: Mali. This West African country, with one of the world’s highest rates of child death, is announcing a plan to solve this crisis that could soon become a global model for child survival.
While the world has made significant progress in reducing child deaths globally, it still falls short of the fourth Millennium Development Goal: a 2/3 reduction in child mortality rates. Today at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), the Malian Minister of Health and the global health nonprofit Muso announced a new commitment to expand a proactive health care approach and test it as a global model for combatting the child mortality crisis.
The new model, called Proactive Community Case Management, uses a simple idea: time matters. The main diseases that kill children worldwide progress rapidly. Children living in poverty are more likely to die because they get care too late. To fix this, Mali’s solution flips traditional healthcare on its head: health care providers, instead of waiting passively for their patients, go out door-to-door, searching for sick children.
In 2013, a Harvard-UCSF study documented an unprecedented tenfold decrease in child mortality rates after the rollout of this proactive healthcare model in an area of Mali. The CGI joint commitment will support Mali’s plan to scale up access to care through Community Health Workers nationally.
“We have seen that the death of a child can become a rare event, even in communities in the midst of this crisis,” said Malian Minister of Health and Hygiene Ousmane Koné. “This approach is an opportunity to construct a national and global model.”
“Last year 5.9 million children died before their fifth birthday. This is an enormous injustice that we must end together. As a global community, we have all the tools we need to end this crisis now. If we can reach children early with care, in the first hours of their illness, this global crisis will grind to a halt and millions of lives could be saved,” said Dr. Ari Johnson, CEO of Muso and Assistant Professor at the University of California San Francisco.
The Pro-CCM Muso model, which has been highlighted as a global best practice, will assist the Malian Ministry of Health in its five-year strategic plan to scale-up CHWs nationally. Muso’s proactive health system includes three core elements: 1) Community Health Workers search proactively for patients door-to-door 2) CHWs provide Doorstep Care to treat simple but deadly diseases in the home, and 3) Rapid-Access Clinics provide care quickly and proactively to patients with more complex or advanced illness. At CGI, Muso and the Ministry of Health committed to testing this proactive healthcare model at scale, serving 250,000 people across nine sites in Mali. Along with this scale-up, a randomized controlled trial will measure the impact of proactive care on universal health coverage and child survival.
This commitment by the Malian Minister of Health comes as world leaders gather to commit to the Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations General Assembly. These goals include commitments to accelerate global progress on universal health coverage and child health.
Muso is a global health organization working in Mali. We believe that every person has the right to access health care, and we are committed to designing innovative health care systems to make that right a reality. Our mission is to eliminate preventable deaths in the world’s most vulnerable communities. After having demonstrated success in our current area of intervention, we are planning to replicate our innovative health care system in rural Mali and then take our model to scale. For more information about Muso’s work, please visit www.musohealth.org.
About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together 190 sitting and former heads of state, more than 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 3,200 Commitments to Action, which have improved the lives of over 430 million people in more than 180 countries.
In addition to the Annual Meeting, CGI convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States; and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. This year, CGI also convened CGI Middle East & Africa, which brought together leaders across sectors to take action on pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges.
The Malian Minister of Health has partnered with the nonprofit global health organization Muso to scale up a proven Community Health Worker-based program across Mali, as part of a larger strategy to reduce child mortality rates and provide universal access to healthcare.