Niger interview: 'We will set up as many tents as needed to treat children in need'
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is working in Madaoua, a small town in the centre of
What did you come across when you arrived in Madaoua?
I came across a national hospital with very few resources. MSF is in charge of paediatrics and an intensive feeding centre for malnourished children. These children are suffering from some other complications and are admitted due to their fragile condition. I came across a very high demand for care for these children.
Can you describe you work for the next few months?
My job is to improve the quality of the care provided by the national medical team in the hospital. Right now we have six young general practitioners from
What is the situation now?
An emergency is in the making as severe acute malnutrition as well as malaria cases are increasing. Currently there are 300 children admitted and the number is on the rise. Last week, we admitted between 50 and 80 children every day. Around 35 per cent of them were admitted in the intensive feeding centre and the rest, in the paediatric ward, most of them due to malaria. For this reason, we are adjusting our capacity to the needs. This week the logistical team set up the tents and we have already put dozens of children there. We still need to set up more tents. We will set up as many tents as needed to treat children in need.
What are the main pathologies treated?
Most children admitted to the hospital suffer from severe acute malnutrition associated with pneumonia, gastroenteritis, intestinal parasites, anaemia, skin lesions, and so on. Moreover we also have to deal with many bacterial meningitis cases during the dry season and malaria during the rainy season, which is starting now.
What is the most difficult part of your work now?
What are the challenges for the coming months?
Despite the difficulties we are facing, the work is paying off. The entire team strives to identify the different health problems of this population and work to resolve them. In the coming weeks, we are going to inform the population about malaria prevention and give early treatment to patients in order to decrease the impact of the epidemic. And in the long term, we want to train local doctors in paediatric knowledge and increase the quality of care and the access to healthcare for this population.