Why We’re Doing It

Why translate Where There Is No Doctor into Bambara?

Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world, with about half of the population living on under $1 per day. The UN Human Development Index ranks Mali 178th out of 182 countres, while the UN Poverty Index ranks the country as the third-lowest in the world.

Due to high poverty rates and persistent under-development, the health care challenge in Mali is formidable. For example according to the World Health Organization, maternal mortality rates in Mali are around 540/ 100,000, higher than average for sub-Saharan Africa. In other words, in Mali 540 women die while pregnant or in childbirth for every 100,000 live births. By way of comparison, in the United States, the maternal mortality ratio is 21/ 100,000; so a woman in Mali is 25 times more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth than one in the U.S.

We feel that the book will help fill a big gap in Mali, where most people live in rural areas without access to quality health care. In particular, it will be of major use to community health workers, NGO staff, and others in working with populations for whom Bamanan is their mother tongue.

In the words of Mr. Bocar Bocoum, Director for Peace Corps in Mali, “Yes, soon we will have Where There Is No Doctor in Bambara. Why not later on in Fulfulde, Malinke and Bomu or Khassonke too?”

In a recent blog post at Peace Corps Connect, Michael Simsik, Country Director for Peace Corps in Mali, discusses how he used the book during his service:

What I found most useful about this book (as well as “Helping Health Workers Learn” – HHWL), is the preface or chapters that relate to non-formal adult education. While serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin from 1986 to 1989, I referred often to WTND when attempting to find out how to treat whatever little thing was ailing me (or to do triage on a bigger thing until I could get to the Peace Corps office for more treatment). Despite not being a health worker, (my background is in natural resource management), I have referred to my tattered copies of both of these books (WTND & HHWL) for over 25 years now.