Access to oncology care in Mali: a qualitative study on breast cancer - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles BMC Cancer Year : 2024

Access to oncology care in Mali: a qualitative study on breast cancer


Abstract Background Breast cancer is the most common cancer in terms of incidence and mortality among women worldwide, including in Africa, and a rapid increase in the number of new cases of breast cancer has recently been observed in sub-Saharan Africa. Oncology is a relatively new discipline in many West African countries, particularly Mali; thus, little is known about the current state of cancer care infrastructure and oncology practices in these countries. Methods To describe the challenges related to access to oncology care in Mali, we used a qualitative approach, following the Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research (COREQ). Thirty-eight semistructured interviews were conducted with health professionals treating cancer in Mali ( n = 10), women with breast cancer ( n = 25), and representatives of associations ( n = 3), and 40 participant observations were conducted in an oncology unit in Bamako. We used the theoretical framework on access to health care developed by Levesque et al. a posteriori to organise and analyse the data collected. Results Access to oncology care is partly limited by the current state of Mali's health infrastructure (technical platform failures, repeated strikes in university hospitals, incomplete free health care and the unavailability of medicines) and exacerbated by the security crisis that has been occurring the country since 2012. The lack of specialist doctors, combined with limited screening campaigns and a centralised and fragmented technical platform in Bamako, is particularly detrimental to breast cancer treatment. Women's lack of awareness, lack of information throughout the treatment process, stereotypes and opposition to amputations all play a significant role in their ability to seek and access quality care, leading some women to therapeutically wander and others to want to leave Mali. It also leaves them in debt and jeopardises the future of their children. However, the high level of trust in doctors, the involvement of international actors, the level of social support and the growing influence of civil society on the issue of cancer also represent great current opportunities to fight cancer in Mali. Conclusion Despite the efforts of successive Malian governments and the commitment of international actors, the provision of health care is still limited in the country, entrenching global inequalities in women's bodies.
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hal-04434368 , version 1 (02-02-2024)



Clémence Schantz, Abdourahmane Coulibaly, Alassane Traoré, Bakary Abou Traoré, Kadiatou Faye, et al.. Access to oncology care in Mali: a qualitative study on breast cancer. BMC Cancer, 2024, 24 (1), pp.81. ⟨10.1186/s12885-024-11825-6⟩. ⟨hal-04434368⟩
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