Waiting for the Harvest: The Fight Against Malnutrition and Malaria in Niger

In Niger, the months before the October harvest are very difficult. Many families have already used up their food stocks, and the rainy season, from June to September, brings more cases of malaria. If a malnourished child also has malaria, he or she often will not want to eat, and treatment becomes complicated. To fight the double threat of malnutrition and malaria in Niger, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) works at the community level, providing home care with so-called "malaria agents," people from the villages trained to diagnose and treat simple malaria. They also examine the child's nutritional status and vaccination coverage. MSF has also set up seasonal malaria chemoprevention, a preventive strategy that consists of administering antimalarial treatment to children between three months and five years of age each month from July to October, the period of greatest transmission of the disease.