This is Ibrahim Sangare.
For four years, he has been supervising community health workers in the Kita region of Mali. He visits remote, hard-to-reach villages, where health workers have been trained by Action Against Hunger to spot and treat malnutrition.
Challenges to healthcare access in remote communities
Some villages in the Kita region are up to 25 kilometres away from the nearest health centre, making it almost impossible for families to access treatment services there. During the rainy season, some communities can even be cut off altogether. For families in remote areas, having trained health workers directly in their villages makes a life-saving difference.
Ibrahim works hard to support these local health services. He rides hundreds of kilometres on his motorbike every day, traveling for hours over dusty, bumpy roads to reach the remote communities.
Ibrahim’s role in supporting health workers
Ibrahim assesses the work of community health workers and helps them with problem-solving. He asks questions, looks at their data sheets, and supports them in fixing technical difficulties. If he spots an error in their work, he will explain how to correct it and how to avoid it in the future.
Ibrahim gets along well with the health workers, and they have built relationships over the years. “We have known each other for a long time,” he says. “I understand perfectly how they work.”
If a sick child arrives while he is visiting, Ibrahim supervises the health workers as they provide care. Many children come with symptoms of malnutrition, but some suffer from other illnesses such as malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia.
Our impact on treating malnutrition
In the four years since he started this job, Ibrahim has seen a noticeable shift in malnutrition treatment.
He says that having community-based treatment has greatly reduced the rates of malnutrition and other illnesses in remote villages. Additionally, it seems that being closer to healthcare helps patients recover. “The intervention of Action Against Hunger,” he says, “has contributed to a reduction in the drop-out rate for those receiving treatment.” He has noticed that people accessing treatment in their own communities are more likely to stay with their courses of treatment.
Although things have improved since four years ago, the fight against malnutrition is far from over. Ibrahim knows that it is important to continue community health work with remote villages. He will not be stopping any time soon.
“My motivation for this job is to I that I am helping to save lives,” he says. “This is my main motivation.”