Malnutrition on the Rise in Maradi, Niger

MSF teams in the Maradi have seen nearly twice as many malnourished children this year as they did during the same period in 2012.

In 2013, children have suffered exceptionally high levels of malnutrition in some regions in Niger, mainly in the Maradi region. At Madarounfa, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been caring for nearly twice as many malnourished children as it did during the same period in 2012 (5,455 compared to 3,985).

Dr. Chantal Gamba, who runs MSF’s programs in Niger, says that many of these children are suffering from marasmus, a severe form of malnutrition with oedema, as well as dehydration or severe malaria.

“Given this increase in our activities, MSF has had to change the way it works: we have organized more hospital space to accept more children and we have provided the human and material resources to assure the extra care.”

Figures from the Niger authorities show that Maradi is the only region of Niger affected by pockets of malnutrition. Despite the difficulties in Maradi, the welcome news is that the overall nutritional condition of under-fives in Niger has improved slightly in 2013.

The data shows that acute malnutrition is at 13.3 percent nationally, with severe acute cases at 2.6 percent. This means that 376,000 children are suffering from malnutrition, 77,000 of them from the severest form of the disease.