With the departure of part of the French forces from Mali, the population fears the return of terrorist groups, and especially the end of cooperation with the French military, whose presence is crucial for local populations in terms of health.
On the spot, the Barkhane force remains very important for many Malians, who come for treatment at the Gao military base by French doctors.
Boubacar Diarra is a 71-year-old Malian who was able to be taken care of there. The farmer broke his arm last month on a deemed dangerous road in Tessalit, northern Mali.
Cured by a healer in his village, the wound became infected. At Gao hospital, he was advised to go for a consultation at the French base.
“The patients who come sometimes have wounds which become infected and which go so far as to require an amputation, something which is sometimes difficult to accept in certain tribes”, explained to CNEWS the captain Nicolas, military doctor of the base of Gao.
A health system in ruins
With the war, the health system in Mali is in ruins. The country suffers from a cruel lack of hospitals and doctors and very few humanitarian organizations still dare to venture on a ground which has become too dangerous.
“We even find ourselves with patients who worsened their initial lesions caused by their makeshift splints, transforming their closed fractures into open fractures”, still regrets Captain Nicolas.
Regarding Boubacar Diarra, the diagnosis is clear: it is a double fracture poorly consolidated. The farmer will be able to leave with his well-groomed arm, but without being able to use it as before.
The French military doctors present for the Barkhane force treat more than a hundred Malians per month. They perform around ten surgical operations each week, for the benefit of local populations.