Executive Director of Arcad Sida (Mali)
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Dr. Dembélé was a founding member of ARCAD-SIDA Mali, the largest community organization in Mali offering medical and psychosocial care to people living with HIV and advocating for dignified access to treatment. She was also part of a group of young doctors who created the CESAC (Care, Facilitation, and Counseling Center) in Bamako in 1996. There she provided medical consultations and psychosocial support to people living with HIV for nine (9) years.
Dr. Dembélé was named Executive Director of ARCAD-SIDA in 2006, at an important turning point for the organization when it received international funding to scale up access to ARV therapy. Fifteen (15) outpatient treatment sites were created throughout Mali. ARCAD-SIDA Mali now has the largest active patient population in the country. More than 23,000 patients were under ARV therapy in 2018, representing 51% of patients treated and monitored in the country. ARCAD-SIDA Mali works closely with vulnerable populations through local initiatives and created a sexual health program for key populations in 2010. The Halles de Bamako clinic is now a standard-bearer whose model is being replicated by ARCAD-SIDA’s West African partners through Coalition Plus, the global network of community organizations, of which the Malian NGO is a founding member.
A dedicated activist, Dr. Dembélé was a major advocate for the provision of free ARV therapy in Mali. She also actively participated in the creation of the first organizations for people living with HIV that fight for the rights, social acceptance, and visibility of those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. She works with national and local politicians to create an environment that promotes access to care for the most marginalized populations. Dr. Dembélé has a State Medical Diploma and a Public Health degree with a specialization in community health, STIs/AIDS, and anthropology. She has always worked to promote the recognition of community expertise in providing vulnerable populations with better access to prevention and ARV treatment.
As the head of a renowned non-profit organization, she has received several honorary titles including the Officer of the National Order of Mali Medal awarded by the President of the Republic of Mali (2017), the Sidaction award for best actor in community-based care (2008), and the Women and AIDS Trophy from the World Food Program (2003).