While much of the Malian government's coronavirus response was focused on the capital, Bamako, Timbuktu quietly became the city with the worst outbreak in the country.
There was no testing equipment in Timbuktu itself. Test samples had to be sent to Bamako, a process that took at least a week and often longer. Meanwhile sick patients were arriving in the local clinics and family members were allowed to visit them -- no one was isolated and in town, no one was taking any measures to mitigate the spread of the virus. It may seem easy to blame the population, but the government was not doing anything to sensitize people to the modes of transmission and the danger of the disease.
Timbuktu now has a testing unit of its own and the population is aware of the extremity of the outbreak. For our part, we have mobilized our team to spread awareness about the proper measures that need to be taken on an individual level, and we have distributed hand-washing stations, masks, soap and bleach. This would not have been possible without Jane Drew of the Mali Fala Fund and many of our clients who contributed to buy supplies and to pay for the transport for the hand-washing stations from Bamako. We cannot thank you enough for all of the support we have received.
Here are some pictures during our most recent distribution of hand-washing stations:
Thanks to team member Mohamed Aguissa for taking these photos.