Maïmouna Diop Ly is a medical doctor with 28 years of experience in public health. She specializes in neglected tropical diseases, nutrition, HIV/AIDS, and child survival. She has worked as a civil servant for the Senegalese Ministry of Health and as Head of the Health Department for the Senegalese Red Cross. Currently, she is a Senior Advisor on Public Health Policy and Financing for Speak Up Africa. She has also served on the boards of the Regional Public Health Institute-Benin and Uniting to Combat NTDs-UK. She has multiple degrees from the University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar-Senegal, Institut Supérieur de Management-ISM Dakar-Senegal, University Paris VI-France, and University of Rennes-France.
We asked Dr. Ly a few questions! Here’s our interview with her below:
Q: Why did you decide to study medicine?
A: I decided to go into medicine since I was a child. Perhaps it was a way to get closer to my father who was a physician doctor and who passed away very early. However, I must admit that growing up I always had a desire to support the improvement of the living conditions of population, social development. To achieve this goal medical and health studies were one of the essential points to achieve this.
Q: What drives you to work in healthcare?
A: As I mentioned earlier, health care and education are two essential components of poverty reduction, especially in our Low and Middle Income countries. Participating in poverty reduction through access to health care has always been a priority for me. Furthermore, working with communities early in my professional life has allowed me to appreciate all the opportunities that existed to improve the health of populations from a policy, strategic and operational perspective.
Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge women face and how is Fohsen bridging the gap?
A: Despite progress made, maternal mortality rate is still an issue. There is also Gender Based Violence especially for the poorest women. These include early or forced marriages, Female Genital mutilation (FGM). Regarding access to education, literacy we still have gaps that will lead also to low socio-economic status of women.
FOHSEN, through its interventions should empower women to enable them to have better access to social services and be more autonomous regarding economic aspects. Dedicated social protection measures, including conditional and non-conditional cash transfer could also help the poorest women.