An MSF team sets up an intravenous catheter on a pediatric patient at the district hospital in Niger’s Zinder region in September. A seasonal “peak” in malaria cases occurs annually in this part of Niger, but the 2018 season brought extremely high levels of mortality in children under five years old. “We have never seen anything like this before, and we fear it’s just the tip of the iceberg,” said Dr. Dorian Job, MSF’s Niger program manager. “Each year, at about this time, we expect a peak in malaria infections, as well as an incidence of malnutrition above emergency thresholds, but we haven’t seen patients overwhelming the hospital in such numbers before.”
In response, MSF sent 243 experienced medical staff from across Niger and around the world to ensure patients receive the best possible care inside the hospital and in the community, where a team ran mobile clinics to care for children closer to home.