- Niger is affected by child malnutrition of epidemic proportions, which peaks during the ‘hunger gap’, a period between harvests in May and September when household food stocks become depleted and are insufficient to meet nutritional needs. The hunger gap coincides with the rainy season and a proliferation of malaria-transmitting mosquitoes, a lethal combination for young children
- Médecins Sans Frontières collaborates with national authorities and NGOs (FORSANI, Befem/Alima) to reduce under-five mortality in several regions of the country, with a particular focus on the management of children with severe malnutrition and malaria.
- In 2014, Médecins Sans Frontières supported six inpatient and several outpatient centres in Madarounfa and Guidan Roumdjii (Maradi region), Bouza and Madaoua (Tahoua region), and Magaria (Zinder region).
- Aiming to complement treatment with prevention, Médecins Sans Frontières also conducted a seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) campaign in the Sahel region (Tahoua, Zinder and Maradi).
- In 2014, Médecins Sans Frontières continued a programme of medical and nutritional care for children under the age of five in Magaria, Zinder.
- The programme focused on the paediatric unit of Magaria hospital, as well as seven health centres and 21 health posts during the peak in malnutrition.
- In Madarounfa, Médecins Sans Frontières runs two outpatient and one inpatient feeding centre to treat children with severe acute malnutrition and supervises four outpatient facilities managed by the national NGO Niger Health Forum (FORSANI).
- Médecins Sans Frontières also supports the Ministry of Health in Madarounfa hospital’s paediatric unit and provided additional support to 11 health centres during the annual malaria peak in 2014. Preventive activities included SMC, providing 54,400 vaccinations and distributing 7,850 mosquito nets.
- A temporary respite care unit in Dan Issa relieves the pressure on the Madarounfa centres during the malnutrition peak and cares for the most severely ill children.
- Médecins Sans Frontières supports five health centres in Guidan Roumdji, where outpatient consultations and vaccinations are available for children up to the age of five. Those that are severely malnourished are screened and treated in ambulatory therapeutic feeding centres, and the ones with medical complications or associated diseases are admitted to the paediatric ward of the Médecins Sans Frontières-supported district hospital.
- During the period of high malaria transmission from June to December, Médecins Sans Frontières supports six additional health centres by providing drugs, training staff and supervising medical activities.
- In Madaoua district, Médecins Sans Frontières supports six integrated health centres to provide treatment of childhood illnesses and severe acute malnutrition throughout the year.
- Psychosocial activities are also being implemented to ensure healthy development and recovery from malnutrition.
- In Bouza district, Médecins Sans Frontières provides paediatric and nutritional care for children under five in the hospital in Bouza town and the area’s six health centres.
- There is also a programme that decentralises essential healthcare in three of the project’s health areas; children and pregnant women can be treated at the health posts and only need to attend the hospital if referred.
- Médecins Sans Frontières is also beginning to work with children with HIV and tuberculosis in Madaoua and Bouza. In Bouza, basic training of hospital staff on HIV was undertaken with the aim of reducing stigmatisation.
Aiding refugees from Nigeria
- The violent activity of Boko Haram in Borno state, Nigeria, caused people to flee their villages and cross into neighbouring countries, including the Diffa region of southeast Niger.
- Responding to the influx of refugees, mainly women, children and elderly people, Médecins Sans Frontières began supporting health centres in N’Garwa and Gueskerou at the beginning of December, providing free access to healthcare and distributing relief kits to new arrivals.
- Médecins Sans Frontières also responded to a cholera outbreak among refugees and the host population in Diffa, after cases were recognised in Diffa city and Chatimari. Teams set up cholera treatment sites and oral rehydration points. Médecins Sans Frontières also trained local health centre staff to chlorinate water at the rehydration points.
- In September, Médecins Sans Frontières worked with the Ministry of Health to respond to an outbreak of cholera affecting Tamaske, Madaoua, Bouza, Tahoua, Maradi and Madarounfa.
- This was one of the interventions carried by EMUSa, a Médecins Sans Frontières emergency medical response team for the Sahel, which is based in Niger and aims to create better surveillance and respond more rapidly to emergencies.
Tillabéri project handover
- The healthcare programme for Malian refugees and the host community in Abala, Tillabéri region, was handed over to the Qatari Red Crescent in June. A total of 20,777 consultations had been provided.
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Médecins Sans Frontières has worked in the country since 1985 and at the end of 2014, Médecins Sans Frontières had 1,886 staff in Niger.