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MSF in Niger, 2009
Field Staff: 1,189
Reason for Intervention:
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The people in this mainly rural, sub-Saharan country have only limited access to healthcare, and the facilities that do exist are largely under-equipped and understaffed. MSF has been working to provide nutritional aid to malnourished children as well as general and maternal healthcare, and last year launched a large meningitis vaccination campaign.
The high level of malnutrition among young children during the dry season from June to October is an ongoing problem. According to a survey conducted by UNICEF in June 2009, 15 per cent of children under five and almost 22 per cent of children between six months and three years old were acutely malnourished in the Zinder region in the south of the country.
In Zinder, within the first nine months of the year, MSF admitted 6,400 children under five who were suffering from severe malnutrition, and a third of them needed to be hospitalized. MSF has also been supporting two hospitals and 11 health centers in the region of Tahoua in the west of the country where 16,500 children under five received treatment for moderate and severe malnutrition. Nearly 12,000 other children were admitted to the clinic in the Nigerian border town of Magaria during the same period, 1,800 of whom needed to be hospitalized. In total MSF treated more than 34,000 severely malnourished children and provided a further 150,000 people with free healthcare in 2009.
The country was repeatedly hit by epidemics requiring emergency responses throughout 2009. One outbreak of meningitis lasted more than three months. MSF together with the Ministry of Health treated 3,300 people and immunised 1.5 million in the Zinder region, as well as a further 670,000 people in Tahoua.
MSF provided also nutritional support in the districts of Madaoua and Bouza, located in the region of Tahoua, supporting two hospitals and 11 health centers. MSF has treated more than 16,500 children under 5 years old for moderate and severe malnutrition, while over 150,000 patients have received free primary health care in the outpatient units.
In Dakoro district, Maradi, children with malnutrition receive specialized care in MSF supported health centers. Those in need of intensive care are transferred to Dakoro hospital, where an MSF team works in a center for intensive medical and nutritional care. At the hospital, MSF also provides pediatric care and emergency obstetric services. In 2009, there were over 2,300 admissions in the pediatric ward and more than 1,700 in the maternity ward, including nearly 280 caesarian sections. In five health centers – Adje koria, Sabon Machi, Alforma, Goula and Dakoro services including maternal health, family planning, ante and post natal consultations are offered. Altogether, MSF conducted an average of 10,000 consultations every month.
In Guidam Roudji district, also in Maradi region, severe malnutrition remains one of the main causes of death among children under five years old. In four health centers, MSF provides care to malnourished children and also supports Guidam Roudji hospital, where children with severe malnutrition are treated. In 2009, more than 1,700 children were treated. MSF also works in the pediatric ward and, during the malaria season, provides additional staff to the hospital.
In Madarounfa district, still in Maradi region, a joint project for the treatment of malnutrition was started by MSF and ‘Forsani’, a Nigerien medical organization. In the three sites of Gabi, Madarounfa and Dan Issa, more than 12,000 severely malnourished children were admitted to the program – with more than 90% successfully treated.
In May last year, MSF began working in three health centers in the city of Agadez in the north of the country, providing maternity and reproductive health services. At the end of the year, teams had conducted more than 5,700 consultations and had assisted more than 2,000 births.
In September, severe floods hit Agadez. MSF teams provided emergency medical assistance through mobile clinics to more than 9,500 people and distributed relief items to more than 2,000 displaced families.
MSF has worked in Niger since 1985.