Global Research in Mali

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Mali is a landlocked west African nation with a highly stratified climate: hot and arid in the north and wet and humid in the south. Malaria is one of the country's principal causes of death and suffering and is responsible for more than 30 percent of all outpatient hospital visits, according to the World Health Organization. Food- and water-borne diseases, including Hepatitis A, typhoid fever, and schistosomiasis, are also prevalent, particularly near the Niger River.

photo of Paul A. Folmsbee shaking hands with Mountaga Tall

U.S. Ambassador to Mali, Paul A. Folmsbee, and Malian Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Mountaga Tall, signed an MOU.


The United States and the Republic of Mali renewed their relationship through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to promote research on and training in tropical and infectious diseases. The two governments most recently collaborated on containing the spread of the Ebola virus epidemic outbreak in Mali last year. NIAID maintains an International Center for Excellence in Research (ICER) in Mali to develop and sustain research programs through partnerships with local scientists. Read more about NIAID’s Mali ICER Program.

NIAID-Funded Activities

NIAID has on-site staff in the capital city of Bamako, working in close association with the faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Sciences, Techniques, and Technology of Bamako (USTTB). NIAID scientists have been active in Mali since the late 1980s; in 2002, the USTTB was selected by NIAID as an International Center for Excellence in Research, with the mission of studying tropical and infectious diseases in endemic areas.

Milestones in NIAID collaborations with the USTTB include the following:

  • Establishment malaria research activities in 1989
  • Development of clinical field sites to test candidate malaria vaccines and conduct studies on malaria and lymphatic filariasis
  • Launch of the Center for Research and Training (Centre de Recherche et de Formation - SEREFO) project, which brings together physicians and researchers from Mali and the United States to study HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis and to provide training for African scientists
  • Establishment of the Mali Service Center, which provides administrative/financial infrastructure for NIAID and other NIH scientific collaborations at the USTTB and beyond

Scientific Advances

Scientists in Mali Find First Effective Treatment for Mansonella perstans Infection

A NIAID clinical trial conducted at the University of Bamako in Mali has shown the dramatic and lasting effect of doxycycline in treating infection with Mansonella perstans, a species of roundworm transmitted to humans by biting midges. This is the first effective treatment found for this neglected tropical disease, which is common in parts of Africa and Central and South America.

Read more about the randomized trial for doxycycline for M. perstans infection.


Watch as NIAID leads a research team in a remote Malian village in search of tickborne relapsing fever.
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