Niger: Fighting epidemics and malnutrition

Often diseases such as measles and cholera cause tremendous illness in regions of the country and exacerbate ongoing problems with malnutrition among the country's most vulnerable children. In the first quarter of 2004, measles struck the capital Niamey. In March and April 2004, MSF carried out a massive measles vaccination campaign in the capital Niamey and two other districts in cooperation with the Ministry of Health. Before it had ended, more than 30,000 people had contracted the disease and MSF had vaccinated 100,000 children between the ages of six months and five years old. MSF also supplied 500 medical treatments to Niamey's largest hospital to treat children suffering from critical complications related to the disease. Epidemics have led to an increase in malnutrition too. Currently, MSF runs an emergency nutrition program in the southwestern city of Maradi. During 2003, 6,500 children received high-protein treatment in MSF's therapeutic feeding center. The objective of this program is to set up a new approach to treat severe malnutrition, which consists of reducing or even eliminating the hospitalization stage. One-third of the children admitted to the center and all of those who are not severely malnourished are directly included in an outpatient stage.