Mali was one of the last sub-Saharan African countries to be “free” of COVID-19, until it reported its first two cases on March 25. Yet, a couple of weeks before that, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Planning partnered with the Agence des Technologies de l’Information et de la Communication (AGETIC) to create a mobile app and a website to inform Malians about the virus.
The app provides an option to report a suspected infection.
Named SOS Corona, the app provides up-to-date information on confirmed cases and recoveries, symptoms of the virus, and an option to report a suspected infection. As of writing, Mali has reported 424 cases, 122 recoveries, and 24 deaths, but the country’s weak medical infrastructure and persistent threats from terrorists and rebel groups increase the risk of the country’s health services being overwhelmed should the disease become more widespread.
There are only 41 ventilators available in public hospitals and 15 in private facilities, far below what is needed to manage the current caseload, let alone an exponential increase.
While Mali’s neighbors have instituted various forms of lockdown, the administration of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta has only implemented a curfew from nine p.m. until five a.m., otherwise allowing Malians to use public transport and gather at cafés. Schools are closed, however, and gatherings of more than 50 people are banned.