The Lord put a dream in both the heart and mind of Dr. Issaka Poudiougo in 2005. He recalls the vivid imagery of that dream in which the Lord gave him a specific vision of the people, villages and landscape in an unevangelized area where He was calling him to work.
While Poudiougo was vigilant in his search for the location, it wasn’t until 11 years later that the Lord opened his eyes to a region in western Mali, along the Mauritanian border, where he has set down roots for ministry work.
The predominantly Muslim region has a general hostility toward Christians, but there’s also a great need for access to medical care, and Poudiougo has been warmly welcomed. His charming personality has helped him build relationships with the Fulani, Sonike and Moors tribesmen when it otherwise would be nearly impossible for a person who is openly Christian.
Poudiougo’s ministry work with the Luke Society officially began in 2019. He operates a primary care clinic in Kaniaka out of a rented facility with special focuses on maternity health and child care. Issaka’s wife, Marie, is being trained in midwifery to complement her husband’s gifts. The location has also enabled the team to reach across the border into Mauritania.
Dr. Issaka Poudiougo
Dr. Issaka Poudiougo’s accomplished resumé almost matches the level of compassion he shares among his fellow Malians. Besides his medical schooling he also has master's degrees in international law, missiology and theology. His gifts extend beyond the books where he has become a talented musician, having recorded several albums.
Population: 17 million
Size: 1.2 million sq. km, or about twice the size of Texas
Borders: Senegal and Mauritania to the west; Algeria to the northeast; Niger to the east; Guinea, Côte D’Ivoire and Burkina Faso to the south.
Religious groups: Muslim, 94.8%; Christian, 2.4%
Primary language: French
Literacy (age 15+): 38.7%
Physician density: 0.08 doctors per 1,000 people.
Population below international poverty line: 36.1%
Life expectancy: 55.3 years
Infant mortality rate: 0.08 deaths per 1,000 live births.
Major exports: Cotton, gold, livestock.
Climate: Subtropical to arid; hot and dry from February-June; rainy, humid and mild from June-November; cool and dry from November-February.
Terrain: Mostly flat to rolling northern plains covered by sand; savanna in the south; rugged hills in the northeast.