International Day of Women and Girls in Science

To mark the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, five Malian women tell us about their passion for family medicine / community medicine. Their greatest motivation? Be part of the solution.

The five profiles that follow are women doctors trained thanks to the DECLIC* project (see description at the end).

Dr Kani Tounkara is from the region of Kayes, a large town 495 km northwest of Bamako, on the banks of the Senegal River in Mali. From a very young age, she had dreamed of being a doctor. Today, she runs a Community Health Center (CSCom) in a rural area of Mali.

Where it all began

In 2015, a friend informed her of a new degree in Family Medicine/ Community Medicine (FM/ CM) supported by the DECLIC project. She enrolled quickly because she appreciated the health approach developed by the Malian partners of the DECLIC project during her thesis at CSCom de Banconi.

“From the 2nd year of my specialization, the training gave me a sense of self-confidence because I was able to master certain clinical skills such as obstetrics, pediatrics, personnel management, community health management and mass communication techniques.”

With her new skills and growing confidence, Dr. Koutara quickly propelled the Community Health Center she now runs.

"Under my leadership, the CSCom received in 2017 a letter of congratulations from the Minister of Health for the proper implementation of hygiene measures, the level of cleanliness of the premises, the commitment of staff, the availability of drugs and the frank collaboration between health actors. In 2018, the CSCom won the “Clean Center” competition. This award paid for the complete rehabilitation of the CSCom. " Dr. Koutara's leadership did not go unnoticed. In 2019, she won a Routine Health Information System training grant for her commitment and personal investment in the front-line health system.

Dr Koutara agrees, the profession of family doctor and community doctor requires a lot of commitment and sacrifice: “The most important thing is what we do for others, and my main appreciation today is based on the enormous progress achieved in the main health indicators, and also my ties with the community. I have a sense of satisfaction in serving my people. "

Dr Maïmouna Traoré is a specialist in family medicine and community medicine. She is currently the technical director of the Community Health Center (CSCom) of Sanoubougou I in the district of Sikasso, the second largest city in Mali for its population, near the border with Burkina Faso.

“I have always loved medicine. I was encouraged by my mom and my aunt who were teachers.” Dr Traoré is also very grateful to her husband who accompanied her during her four years of studying for the Graduate Diploma (DES) in Family Medicine and Community Medicine (FM/ CM).

“The DES in FM/ CM allowed me to meet the expectations in my profession. Today I work as a female FM/ CM on the front line thanks to the quality education I have received from my teachers and clinical supervisors.”

For Dr. Traoré, the participatory style of communication and the warm demeanor she has learned have had a real impact in patient care and with the community.

“I am proud to be a doctor because it is a noble profession, I get to save lives.”

Dr Rakki M'Baye is from Mopti, the fifth region of Mali. She is currently Technical Director of the Community Health Center (CSCom) of Doumanzana, in the district of Bamako.

It was the passion for long studies, science and a special interest in medicine that motivated her to become a family and community physician.

“As a doctor practicing in a CSCom, the Diploma in Family Medicine/ Community Medicine (FM/CM) allowed me to be a true specialist in (FM/CM). This training strengthened my skills and knowledge in community health, clinical skills, community management and communication.”

What she values most as a female physician is the contact with her patients, identifying their needs and understanding their concerns.

“My pride is to be a useful woman in the community. To be very close to the people. A woman who better understands the problems and concerns of her sisters.”

Dr Fanta Tembely is from the Dogon country, in the heart of Mali and near the Burkinabé border. A mythical region with its villages clinging to the cliffs, and where unfortunately there is great insecurity.

Dr Tembely is a specialist in family medicine and community medicine (CSCom). She is now the assistant to the technical director of the Sikoro CSCom in the CII of the Bamako health district. She is very grateful to the DECLIC project for supporting her throughout the training: at the time of registration, with a rural and urban internship grant and in the preparation of the graduation thesis. “I have benefited from a lot of training, especially during rural internships on the reality of public health and community outreach. "

What she values most about her job is the community approach and the well-being of the population. She particularly appreciates the supervision of young doctors at the level of the community health structure to do their research, "because we are in direct contact with the population and the first to discover the problems and finally to prevent complications. "

His greatest pride? “Save mothers’ and children’s lives by improving maternal and child health. "

Dr Fatoumata Sissouma is from Bamako. She has always been passionate about the profession of doctor and enjoys taking care of patients and those around them. Every healed or satisfied patient is a great source of motivation for her.

“The DECLIC project provided us with technical and financial support. (...) DECLIC allowed me to access the DES in Family Medicine and Community Medicine, which was a dream for me. I have always worked in a community health center (CSCom) and improving the quality of care at the community level has always been my priority. DECLIC made this dream come true.”

Dr. Sissouma is very grateful to her teachers, who gave her the necessary tools to practice her profession.

"The people behind the DES in Family Medicine and Community Medicine have spared no effort to find us teachers of exceptional quality for the best quality training. Indeed, we received very good theoretical and in clinical training through rural and suburban internships.”

Finally, she recognizes the importance and the complementarity of individual and population-based approaches to community medicine. “As primary care physicians, we are like sentinels, we must always think about the individual and the community. The community approach to this profession, by being closer to the population, is to me a major factor for better understanding and taking care of patients in their environment.”

“It is a great joy for me to be in this process of changing the quality of care provided at the front line.”


Funded by Global Affairs Canada and delivered in partnership with the University of Sherbrooke and the Cégep of Saint-Jérôme, this eight-year project (2010 -2018) aimed to help make available, in quantity and quality, front-line human resources in health, so that the population of Mali, particularly women and children, could benefit from better quality health care adapted to their needs. With this in mind, DECLIC relies on the training of doctors and paramedics assigned to first-line health services and care in the community health centers (CSCom) of the country. Learn more