On Wednesday, a suicide bomber attacked a camp of the United Nations mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in the outskirts of Ansongo town, killing three civilians – two children and one adult – and wounding 16 people, most of them UN peacekeepers. A Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) team was immediately deployed to the area and referred five wounded children to the Ansongo referral hospital, where the organisation has been working since 2012.
Due to the severity of the wounds, one of the children was referred to the hospital in Gao, the capital of the region. The other four children are being treated for trauma wounds in Ansongo. “As an emergency organisation our priority is to respond as quick as possible to this kind of event as we know that civilians are too often caught between clashes of different armed groups in the North of Mali”, says Côme Niyongabo, MSF Head of Mission in Mali.
MSF has been working in the Gao region since November 2012 providing medical care to the populations affected by the armed conflict. In 2014, MSF concentrated its activities in Ansongo referral hospital and in several health initiatives in the communities. The organisation also collaborated to ensure screening for child malnutrition and seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) in Gao region. More than 40,000 children received antimalarials to guard against the disease through the malaria peak season.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, exclusion from healthcare and natural disasters. MSF offers assistance to people based on need and irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation. MSF’s actions are guided by medical ethics and the principles of independence and impartiality.