A Decade of Collaboration: Mali’s Health System Prepared to Serve the Population

The story of Mali and the MEASURE Evaluation project is one of transformation, collaboration, and achievement in improving health information systems to deliver better healthcare for Malians.

BAMAKO, Mali--The story of Mali and the MEASURE Evaluation project is one of transformation, collaboration, and achievement in improving health information systems to deliver better healthcare for Malians.

In 2009, the health information system was fragmented--with data incomplete and sometimes late. Today, a comprehensive health data software is operating nationwide, down to the level of community health centers. Mali now enjoys more robust tracking of population health and service coverage, epidemic surveillance and response, and can boast a growing cadre of trained health professionals to keep the achievements coming.

The Mali Ministry of Health worked hand in hand with in-country stakeholders and the MEASURE Evaluation project—funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for more than 11 years. At the project closing ceremony, held January 23, 2020 in Bamako, Dr. Michel Sidibé, Mali’s Minister of Health and Social Affairs, said, “One of the best ways to ensure global health security is information; with information, one can take action to assess the risk and control the health threat.”

Tying together disparate elements of the reformed health system is the District Health Information Software, version 2 (DHIS2), which is now the health data platform for all of Mali’s hospitals, all of its regional and district health offices, and 98 percent of its community health centers. At the helm managing this robust system are scores of trained trainers and a growing group of career-path professionals who have sophisticated skills in managing routine health information data gathered at the clinic level to guide evidence-informed decision making.

Evidence of the expanding capacity of the health system includes “statistical yearbooks” that aggregate health data from the prior year so that trends are tracked in a timely fashion. Malaria bulletins are also published monthly with national statistics and quarterly for subnational malaria data. These bulletins feature data visualizations to help the health workforce analyze and devise strategies based on the data. Mali is also increasingly able to digitize health data in electronic registers that are replacing cumbersome paper registers. Using digital data sets, health facilities are seeing improved enrollment of clients in needed services for antenatal care and childhood immunizations and vastly improved client tracing to ensure follow-up.

Importantly, Mali has taken big steps to expand the surveillance and notification of animal-borne diseases with the potential to become epidemics among humans. This imperative follows on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014. It is a crucial advance in the One Health approach to health monitoring and is essential to safeguard global health security.

How do we know about these impacts? All of these advances are based on evidence from large-scale assessments of Mali’s routine health information system conducted in 2013 and 2018 that revealed strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. With support from USAID and the concerted and collaborative efforts of partners such as UNICEF; GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; the Embassy of the Netherlands in Bamako, Mali; and MEASURE Evaluation, Mali has achieved significant gains in the functioning of its health information system–a reality that benefits Mali’s people every day.

Access Mali end of project resources.