Improving the Prevention and Management of Diabetes Mellitus in Mali

Partnership objective

Improve the prevention and management of diabetes mellitus in Africa and particularly in Mali.

Few patients have access to treatment for diabetes, and screening and information can be virtually nonexistent. Few patients have access to treatment for diabetes, and screening and information can be virtually nonexistent. Copyright Sanofi Espoir Foundation

What are the health needs and challenges?

According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), diabetes will affect over 500 million people worldwide in 2030. Developing countries will account for more than 76% of diabetics around the world. Africa will experience the world’s largest increase in diabetes between 2010 and 2030. Africa in 2030 will have over 23 million people with diabetes.

Africa is undergoing an epidemiological transition from communicable diseases to chronic noncommunicable diseases. The diabetes pandemic in Africa is due to:

  • The increasing age of its communities;
  • The rapid urbanization leading to a change in lifestyle, with a marked increase in sedentary activities, changes in nutrition, and the rapid increase of overweight people and obesity.

Difficulties to manage diabetes in Africa are mostly due to:

  • Difficult geographical and financial access to diabetes care, such as lack of medicines, consultation and analysis facilities, lack of trained health professionals to manage diabetes;
  • The lack of prevention programs;
  • Health systems which are not adapted to managing chronic diseases, and are focusing on priorities such as HIV, Malaria, Tuberculosis.

This leads to few patients having access to treatment, and to screening and information being virtually inexistent.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

The Sanofi Espoir Foundation partnered with the NGO Santé Diabète in Mali to fight diabetes through actions on the ground in support of the country’s Ministry of Health and local stakeholders. This involves community awareness-raising, training of healthcare professionals, detection and early management of patients, and rehabilitation of those with disabilities.

This program focused on mobilizing Santé Diabète partners in managing diabetes and mobilizing the Sanofi Espoir Foundation with respect to aspects of prevention, with a comprehensive and multi-stakeholder approach. This became a national program thanks to the expansion of the geographical scope of action. The program operated in close partnership with local authorities in seven of Mali’s eight regions, taking an innovative approach to diabetes by developing 5 action lines, guided by a working method to invest in:

  1. Primary prevention to reduce the human and economic burden of the disease’s progression.
  2. Decentralization of care to ensure geographic accessibility for people and high quality support.
  3. Secondary and tertiary "therapeutic education" prevention to reduce the burden of complications from diabetes.
  4. Reducing the cost of care to ensure geographic accessibility of people to high quality support.
  5. An integrated approach including the active involvement of patients and their families through their associations by promoting self-management and advocacy so they can defend their rights.

Lessons learned

The program was led and tracked closely with the National Board of Health (NCD Section) and various Mali government structures associated with preventing and managing diabetes.

Simultaneously, this approach was strengthened by the creation of an extensive network of partners in the north (research centers, universities, patient organizations, international experts, etc.)

The program is a key example showing that close cooperation between the government and NGOs in setting up aid actions can:

  • Strengthen the local authority mobilization against diabetes;
  • Strengthen donor mobilization;
  • Mobilize a large network of international partners to support the fight against diabetes;
  • But above all, achieve large-scale solid progress for patients.

Summary of impact and forward looking information

In 2012, 409 children benefited from awareness action and 12,000 diabetics received a medical support and access to care.


Diabetes, a Developing Disease

Partnership information

Company(ies) Sanofi

Partner(s) Agence Française de Développement (AFD), European Commission, European Union, French Diabetes Association, International Diabetes Federation (IDF), International Insulin Foundation, Mali Ministry of Health, Malian Faculty of Medecine, Malian National Board of Health, Malian Regional Directorates of Health, Malian Teaching Academies, Mutualité Française, Popular Pharmacy of Mali, Santé Diabète, Société Francophone du Diabète, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), World Health Organization (WHO)

Type of Partner(s) Academia / Hospitals, Government, IGOs, NGOs, Professional Associations

Therapeutic Focus Non-Communicable Diseases

Disease(s) Diabetes

Program Type(s) Availability of Treatment - Differential Pricing, Prevention Programs - Awareness & Outreach

Targeted Population(s) Children, Men, Mothers, People with low income, Women, Youth

Region(s) Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 1

Country(ies) Mali

Start Date 2007

More information Sanofi Espoir

Completed date 2014

« I can stay home and do my insulin and my blood sugar. If anything goes wrong, I go for a visit to the Sikasso Hospital. »

Rokia Sanogo, 17