La Chaîne de l'Espoir in Mali

Our actions in Mali

ANDRE FESTOC Paediatric Surgery Unit

Luxembourg Mother-Child Hospital is a private public interest facility with a focus on women and children health. It presently covers many medical specialties, including gynaecology, paediatrics, surgery and traumatology.

The cardiology unit created by Professor Diarra has become a leading centre in this area on a national level. However, needs in cardiac surgery are still continuously growing and children cannot always be offered treatment: Professor Diarra identified over 2,000 children whose lives are threatened due to a lack of medical care. Most of them suffer from valvular diseases and congenital heart defects.

The objective of La Chaîne de l’Espoir’s programme is to equip the cardiology unit of Luxembourg Mother-Child Hospital with a surgery unit, which is essential to provide comprehensive medical services to children with heart conditions. The aim is to create, within the existing premises and as an extension of the Hospital, a technical platform with two operating theatres and their environment. This platform will be integrated in the hospital’s cardiology department, which includes consultations rooms and an inpatient unit.

This technical platform will include :

  • 2 operating theatres for paediatric cardiac surgery procedures.
  • 1 intensive care unit for post-surgery follow-up.
  • 1sterilisation, essential to the technical platform’s operations.
  • 1 inpatient unit: for post-intensive care follow-up.

01/11/2016 - Laying of the foundation stone

Mrs Keïta Aminata Maïga, Mali’s first lady, Professor Diarra, paediatric cardiologist from La Chaîne de l’Espoir in Bamako and director of the “Luxembourg” Mother-Child Hospital, and Professor Alain Deloche, have laid the foundation stone of the André Festoc Paediatric Cardiac Surgery Unit on November 1, 2016.

Works are scheduled to start before the end of the year and opening is estimated for the end of 2017.

Additionally, a full medical team will be formed around Pr Diarra. It will be trained via long-term training courses abroad. The team should be operational for the opening of the centre.


Located in the Sahel, Mali is the second largest country in West Africa. With 15 million inhabitants, two-thirds of the country is desert.

Mali’s healthcare capacities are deficient in many respects. According to the World Health Organisation the level and quality of the country’s health services are inadequate. In 2013, healthcare expenses amounted to $53 per inhabitant accounting for 7.1% of Mali’s GDP. The UNDP ranked the country 176th out of 187 on their Human Development Index.

The health situation is particularly deficient when it comes to heart disease. Latest studies show that cardiovascular diseases account for 11% of deaths.

With the exception of Point G Teaching Hospital, managing heart conditions in adults, no hospital facility is able to treat cardiac diseases autonomously.

As for children, they are cared for by Professor Mamadou Bocary Diarra, a cardiologist and Director of Luxemburg Mother-Child Hospital in Bamako. Treatment is however limited because paediatric cardiac surgery is not available in Mali.

Each year 800 to 1,000 new paediatric cases are identified.

La Chaîne de l'Espoir in Mali

Mali was La Chaîne de l’Espoir’s first partner country in West Africa and still is through various projects.

For over 20 years, La Chaîne de l’Espoir has been organising and funding transfers of Malian children with heart diseases to France, offering them the best possible care.

In 2011 the “1000 Hearts” mission enabled several Malian children to benefit from this programme. Its aim was to select and operate on young patients requiring heart surgery. Ill children were then brought from Bamako to Dakar to be operated on by African surgeons.

La Chaîne de l’Espoir is particularly committed to pass on knowledge. In 2012-2013, it has trained a surgery team of Luxembourg Hospital in Angers.

In 2016, La Chaîne de l’Espoir is launching a construction project for a paediatric surgery unit within Luxembourg Mother-Child Hospital.