Bamako – Since the beginning of the month (August) and as restrictions on mobility amid the COVID-19 pandemic are easing throughout the region, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Mali has been supporting the Government of Mali in the reopening of borders.
With support from the Government of Germany, the Organization has carried out capacity-building sessions on the prevention of the disease with border management authorities at the Bamako International Airport and 19 strategic border crossing points and health checkpoints across the country, particularly in the regions of Kayes, Sikasso, Koulikoro, Mopti and Segou.
Five hundred fifty-six agents from the Border Police, Gendarmerie and Customs officers have been trained at ten land border and control posts in Sikasso, Ségou and Koulikoro regions. They were thought to better protect themselves from the disease, to identify and refer potential cases, and to preserve the protection of human rights during the screening of travelers. The capacity building activities were based on the Standard Operating Procedures for Frontline Border Officials at the Point of Entry, developed by IOM in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In July, IOM had trained 250 agents from Border Police, Customs, and Airport civilian staff. On 4 August, personal protection, hygiene and awareness-raising equipment worth 40 million XOF (60 000 000 USD) had been handed over to the Airport Services.
IOM is also setting up a Risk Communication and Community Engagement network in border areas to empower local communities in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Jointly with UNICEF, IOM is supporting health agents deployed at health checkpoints to screen travelers and identify potential cases.
IOM Mali will continue to conduct capacity-building activities at land border posts and internal health checkpoints until the end of the year 2020.
To protect the country from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Mali had closed borders to international travelers in March 2020. After four months particularly challenging for the Malian population and economy, as well as for migrants stranded on the road, land and air points of entry are now slowly reopening.
IOM's preparedness and response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Kayes, Sikasso, Koulikoro, Mopti and Segou is funded by the German Federal Government.
For more information, please contact Arthur Langouët, Head of Immigration and Border Management unit, IOM Mali, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org