Mali faces numerous health challenges related to poverty, malnutrition, and inadequate hygiene and sanitation. Mali’s health and development indicators rank among the worst in the world.

Life expectancy at birth is estimated to be 53.06 years in 2012. In 2000, 62–65 percent of the population was estimated to have access to safe drinking water and only 69 percent to sanitation services of some kind.

In 2001, the general government expenditures on health totalled about US$4 per capita at an average exchange rate.

Efforts have been made to improve nutrition, and reduce associated health problems, by encouraging women to make nutritious versions of local recipes.

For example the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics and the Aga Khan Foundation trained women’s groups to make equinut, a healthy and nutritional version of the traditional recipe di-degue (comprising peanut paste, honey and millet or rice flour).

The aim was to boost nutrition and livelihoods by producing a product that women could make and sell, and which would be accepted by the local community because of its local heritage.

Medical facilities in Mali are very limited, and medicines are in short supply. Malaria and other arthropod-borne diseases are prevalent in Mali, as are a number of infectious diseases such as cholera and tuberculosis.

Mali’s population also suffers from a high rate of child malnutrition and a low rate of immunization. An estimated 1.9 percent of the adult and children population was afflicted with HIV/AIDS that year, among the lowest rates in Sub-Saharan Africa.

An estimated 85–91 percent of Mali’s girls and women have had female genital mutilation (2006 and 2001 data).