National Responses to Improve the Lives of Children and Women
The return to democracy in the early 1990s allowed the Government of Mali to make reforms to improve the living conditions of Malians. UNICEF and partners have supported the country’s efforts to increase access, especially for women and children, to basic, high quality social services such as education, health, water and sanitation and protection of children. Poverty reduction is the main priority and a national Poverty Reduction Strategy has been elaborated to achieve the country’s Millennium Development Goals.
There have been remarkable achievements. Between 2001 and 2006, the number of people living in poverty reduced from 55 per cent to 47.4 per cent. Children have a greater chance of survival. There has been a notable 17 per cent decrease in child mortality and a 19 per cent reduction in maternal mortality between 2001 and 2006.
Efforts have paid off on disease control too. For example, Mali was certified as polio free in October 2008 and there are indications that fewer people are dying of malaria as prevention, diagnosis and treatment have improved. There is also more help for women with complicated deliveries. Problem pregnancies are identified more readily and plans for referral and evacuation have been put in place in 57 out of the country’s 59 districts. Also significant is the 47 per cent increase in the number of pregnant women testing for HIV between 2006 and 2007.
Children also have more opportunities to access school at all levels, including pre-school. Children who have missed out on school can now benefit from non-formal education, and can even be re-integrated back into the education system if they are not too old.
Measures have been taken to protect children from abuse and exploitation. For example, both the police and local communities are more aware of trafficking and have a greater sensitivity towards children who fall victim to traffickers. Although female genital mutilation and cutting is still widespread, more community groups are fighting the practice.