Already heavily impacted by endemic poverty, Niger is directly suffering the consequences of several politico-military crises. On the one hand, the instability created by the Lake Chad crisis is leading to massive population displacements, putting the health situation and economic resilience of communities to the test. On the other hand, the crisis in the Sahel and the Malian conflict is characterised by the rise of several transnational armed groups whose acts of violence severely affect the populations. Finally, Niger is at the heart of the migration routes between Sub-Saharan and North Africa.
This instability is characterised by the scale of the population’s humanitarian needs. According to the Humanitarian Needs Survey 2020 published by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, an estimated 2.9 million people are in need, 55% of whom are children. In addition, in order to reduce the risk of attacks by armed groups, a state of emergency has been declared by the government in the border regions of Mali, which complicates the population’s access to basic services and increases their vulnerability to epidemic risks (meningitis, measles, cholera) and malnutrition.
Description of the mission
In the past, Première Urgence Internationale has worked twice in Niger, once in the 1990s with projects in the Agadez region, and in the early 2010’s in the malnutrition sector in Niamey.
Faced with the evolution of the cross-border context between Mali and Niger at the end of 2017, the NGO opened a mission in Niger in 2018, in the framework of a cross-border mission covering the “3 borders” zone, bringing together the Première Urgence Internationale’s operations in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.
In Niger, Première Urgence Internationale implements its activities in the Tillabéri region, an area where violence is intensifying and where there is a high level of internal displacement. These constraints contribute to a decrease in access to health services, and in the short term this translates into a resurgence of certain communicable diseases such as measles, diarrhoeal diseases and pneumonia, particularly affecting children.
Thus, the NGO focuses on responding to the immediate needs of the population, improving access to health care and nutrition, and strengthening existing health structures.
Premiere Urgence Internationale in action
Première Urgence Internationale implements its activities in the health districts of Ouallam and Torodi through strategies discussed and agreed with the health authorities. Thus, Première Urgence Internationale deploys mobile clinics composed of experienced staff, whose objective is to provide primary and mental health care to vulnerable people.
In addition, the NGO provides support to health centres in several health areas, through capacity building of health workers, support in medicines and medical equipment, as well as rehabilitation of infrastructure to ensure a suitable health environment for patients.
LAUNCHING A PRIMARY HEALTH CARE AID PROJECT IN NIGER
“This is the first step along a path we are taking together to improve access to basic social services for the people of Tillabéri in general, and in particular for the most vulnerable people.”These were the words that Soumaila Marsanda, Prefect for the department of Ouallam, used to start the workshop to launch Première Urgence Internationale’s new project in Niger. This workshop took place on 12th September 2019, in Ouallam in the Tillabéri region.