Breaking Barriers to Access to Quality Care and Services in Nienemado

Since 2018, Joseph Kone has worked as the technical director at the Saye Community Health Center, situated in the Macina health district of the Ségou Region. Over the years, he observed a concerning underutilization of health services by the residents of Nienemado village. The utilization rates were alarmingly low: 0% for curative consultations, 0% for prenatal consultations, 0% for deliveries, 0% for postnatal care, and only 27% for vaccination.

Despite the efforts made by the management team of the health center to raise awareness among the population, this situation persisted largely due to the presence of itinerant caregivers, a traditional birth attendant and the proximity of another community health center,” said Kone.

To enhance the connection between communities and their health centers and foster improved access to high-quality healthcare services, USAID Keneya Nieta (Household and Community Health) organizes community meetings. These gatherings bring together members of the village health committee, the mayor, a community health association representative, and the health center's technical director. The primary purpose of these meetings is to address the challenges hindering healthcare accessibility and to formulate tangible solutions to surmount these barriers.

This community meeting created opportunities for productive dialogues with the Nienemado community, led by the Village Health and Governance Committee. Kone elaborated, "During these exchanges, we explored in detail the major obstacles hindering access to health services, while highlighting the many benefits inherent in the services offered at the community health center.”

The community embraced this approach, with a newfound commitment to promptly attending the community health center. Yaya Karabenta, a village health committee member, expressed their collective sentiment, said, Our decision was motivated by the convincing evidence demonstrating the benefits of using quality health care and services. This meeting is of great importance, as it demonstrates the commitment of the commune's health authorities to improving our well-being."

Indeed, just two days after the meeting, the health center saw a significant influx of patients from the village of Nienemado, including the village chief. From January to September 2023, the center registered 45 individuals for curative care, marking a substantial change in the healthcare landscape. During this period, the center achieved the additional, encouraging rates: 45% for antenatal care, 6% for deliveries, 75% for postnatal care, and an impressive 71% for child vaccinations. This transformation signifies a remarkable shift towards improved healthcare utilization and a brighter, healthier future for the community.

Since 2021, USAID has supported Mali's Ministry of Health and Social Development efforts to increase the use of quality health care and services within communities in the Mopti, Sikasso and Ségou regions. USAID Keneya Nieta has organized, since 2022 more than 9900 community meetings, helping communities to resolve problems related to the use of health care and services.