Invest in health care for women and children in Mali

by | Nov 15, 2016

We’re thrilled to partner with Mali Health for a 3rd project, a savings and loan program that will help women in Mali pay for their family’s health care. In small groups, these women can both learn and practice saving and investing, all while addressing their family’s health care needs. In total this project will empower 1,500 woman and their families with the resources to access better health care.

Why Mali?

Too often families get sick because they cannot afford the costs of care. Unexpected health care costs can drive poor families deeper into poverty every day. The United Nations lists Mali as one of the least-developed nations in the world, and with this kind of extreme poverty, comes many health concerns for families.

Mali Health works with the poorest mothers and children, many of whom survive on less than $1.50 per day. With such limited resources, these families cannot afford the out-of-pocket costs of health care, so they often go without even the most basic services. As a result, Mali is consistently ranked among the four worst places to be born or give birth. One in 26 women will die due to complications arising from pregnancy or childbirth, and 1 in 8 children will not live to see their fifth birthday. These deaths can and are being prevented by helping women and their families overcome the financial barrier to primary health care.

ODW + Mali Health

This project will allow 1,500 women to participate in savings and loan groups. Through this program, women will gather weekly or bi-weekly to contribute a small amount of money into two savings boxes. From one, women take small, no-interest loans to pay for health care expenses. From the other, they can take small loans at a rate set by their group to support income-building activities like starting or expanding a small business. At every stage, the women are in charge. They decide together how much each member contributes to their groups and establish their own groups’ rules.

Mah’s Story

Mah Diarra lives in a small community outside of Mali’s capital, Bamako. Four months into her pregnancy she still hadn’t been able to see a doctor because she lacked resources to pay for it. A friend told her about Mali Health’s SHARE program, and was able to start saving up for pregnancy costs and health care costs for her and her new baby. The SHARE, Savings for Health And Reproductive Services, works with expectant mothers to help them save for costs related to prenatal care and delivery. It also provides education for these savings groups that bring awareness to the most common diseases and teach prevention methods and ideas. Mah was able to deliver a healthy baby and now is happy to help other moms join in on programs like SHARE to work on saving and investing in to their families future.

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