Niger Crisis: overview of MSF programs

© Anne Yzebe/MSF Click for large view

In Niger, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is operating in the regions of Maradi and Tahoua where it is treating children suffering from severe malnutrition* and bringing food and medical aid to children suffering from moderate malnutrition*.

To successfully carry out its projects, MSF has mobilised 50 expatriate volunteers and 450 local employees. For the whole of 2005, we plan to distribute 8,450 tons of food, and the provisional budget of this emergency operation amounts to 9 million euros.

Severe malnutrition: 12,600 children already admitted

MSF is currently operating five intensive nutritional rehabilitation centres (CRENI - Centre de Récuperation Nutritionelle Intensive) and 26 ambulatory nutritional centres where we treat children suffering from severe malnutrition. The Maradi centre was opened in 2001, while the centres in Aguié, Dakoro, Tahoua and Keita have progressively been opening since May 2005 to cope with the emergency.

Between January 1 and mid-July 2005, MSF admitted 12,600 severely malnourished children to the feeding centres. The rhythm of admissions has accelerated, with on average 1,000 children per week since the month of June. For the whole of 2005, we expect to treat approximately 30,000 children suffering from severe malnutrition. Last year, 10,000 children were admitted to the CRENI in Maradi.

Children admitted to our centres receive specialised food (therapeutic milk, Plumpy Nut®) and medical care. In addition, families of these children benefit from food distributions: during admissions, they receive a daily protection ration including five kilos of Unimix (vitamin and mineral enriched flour) and a litre of oil. When a child leaves the program, the family receives a discharge ration of 85 kilos of food (50kgs of millet, 25kgs of beans, and 5 litres of oil).

According to our estimates, in 2005 the total quantities distributed to children suffering from severe malnutrition in our centres will reach:

  • 200 tons of Plumpy Nut®
  • 815 tons of Unimix
  • 1,630 tons of cereal
  • 815 tons of beans
  • 491,000 litres of oil

    Moderate malnutrition: 4,500 tons of food to be distributed

    MSF has decided to reinforce operations by organising targeted food distributions to bring aid to children under five suffering moderate malnutrition, and to other children at risk (those measuring less than 65 centimetres). In addition, five paediatric care units - within close proximity to the CRENI - are being opened to provide medical care to moderately malnourished or at-risk children.

    In terms of food aid, the objective is to distribute - once a month for three months - 25kgs of Unimix and five litres of oil to 50,000 children in the areas where MSF is operating. The first distributions took place on July 23 in the Maradi region.

    From now to the end of the year, the total quantities distributed should reach:

  • 3,750 tons of Unimix
  • 750,000 litres of oil

    * A person suffers from acute moderate malnutrition when their weight-to-waist ratio is between 70 and 80% of the normal. A person suffers from acute severe malnutrition when their weight-to-waist ratio is below 70% of the normal. Acute global malnutrition covers severe and moderate malnutrition.