Timbuktu, a city in the Republic of Mali (Africa), isolated and difficult to access for ordinary people, reported its first case of the new coronavirus in June.
“At night I couldn’t sleep, I felt like there was a rock weighing a ton on my chest, suffocating me and keeping me awake. I could barely breathe, ”said Toure, a 50-year-old teacher who carries the virus here.
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In the middle of the Sahara desert, the virus reached the corners of this city that does not even have commercial flights to enter.
According to the international agency ‘AP’, there are currently more than 500 cases and at least nine deaths in this place. This makes it the second city with the most cases in Mali after the capital, Bamako..
Timbuktu is located a thousand kilometers from Bamako, that is, to get from the capital you have to make a journey of approximately 24 hours by road.
To go to this area, isolated from the cities, you need to take a bus that leaves occasionally from the capital.
The arrival of the virus causes concern in the inhabitants, since this area has a weak health system, according to information from the aforementioned agency. On different occasions Timbuktu has been classified as a place located in ‘the ends of the Earth’.
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The local hospital has a group of tents set up around it that house dozens of patients who have tested positive for coronavirus. In the facilities, mechanical ventilators are not available for patients suffering from covid-19.
According to the ‘AP’ report, temperatures in the area are usually above 45 degrees Celsius, making hospital treatment even more difficult.
We don’t have a public health doctor, much less an epidemiologist
“I’ve been on the verge of death because there were times when I was gasping for air like a fish that has just been pulled out of the river“said Toure, who does not know exactly how he contracted the virus.
At the moment, the hospital is known to have had enough oxygen tanks to treat patients with covid-19. However, medical personnel have become scarce in the face of the contingency.
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According to the AP, specialists in this city are not enough to treat people with coronavirus. For example, they do not have radiologists to read radiographs, nor do they have lung specialists who treat respiratory diseases. “We don’t have a public health doctor, much less an epidemiologist“said Djibril Kassogué, regional director of health in Timbuktu.
This city also has very high levels of violence, which has made it difficult to hire more medical personnel.. Seven years ago, Islamic extremists inhabited the whole of northern Mali. In recent times, the UN has been in charge of monitoring the arrival of other armed groups and militias.
The coronavirus arrived in Mali in March 2020 with two cases: one in the capital and the other in Kayes, a city located in the west of the country. Until July 1, 2,173 cases have been confirmed in this country and 115 people have died from this cause..