In Niger, chronic food insecurity and infectious diseases have resulted in some of the highest rates of malnutrition and mortality in the world. More than 47 percent of children under five years of age are chronically undernourished, and the rates of acute malnutrition are well beyond the threshold for public health emergencies. Malaria accounts for 50 percent of deaths among children under five. Maternal mortality remains unacceptably high due to a variety of socio-economic factors, lack of access to quality care, and insufficient numbers of trained health personnel. In addition, Niger has the highest fertility rate in the world, with an average Nigerien woman having seven children during her lifetime. Left unchecked, Niger’s rapid population growth will further undermine the effective delivery of health services and weaken the resilience of the most vulnerable populations in the country.
USAID/Niger’s health programs focus on developing the capacity of government, civil society, and other important partners to mitigate infectious diseases, including malaria and emerging health threats, while improving the quality and uptake of health services, especially family planning, reproductive health, nutrition, and maternal child health. To strengthen Niger’s overall healthcare system, USAID activities seek to improve the availability of essential health commodities and to strengthen Niger’s health surveillance and information systems, while also building the capacity of health facilities and providers to provide quality care.
Enhancing Resilience and Nutrition
The second phase of the USAID Resilience in the Sahel Enhanced (RISE-II) project contributes to improving the health, food security, and nutritional status of women and children under 5 years of age with a view to reducing the vulnerability of populations living in a situation of chronic and recurrent crises. The project also works to integrate family planning into programs that treat malnutrition and to strengthen the overall healthcare system.
Maternal Health, Child Health, Family Planning
USAID’s goal for maternal and child health and family planning is to increase demand, as well as people’s access to and uptake of quality healthcare services. This includes strengthening the capacity of community health workers and health care providers to deliver quality services in communities and health facilities. USAID works directly with the Nigerien Ministry of Public Health to improve the availability and the management of supplies and commodities. Reproductive health interventions engage with parents, youth and religious leaders to address key barriers and to disseminate messages promoting maternal and child health and family planning. Through its resilience programs, USAID promotes safe spaces for young women where they can learn with and from their peers about nutrition as well as sexual and reproductive health. USAID also works to treat and prevent obstetric fistula, a debilitating childbirth injury that can leave women who experience it with constant incontinence, shame, ostracization, and chronic health problems.
Through the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), USAID and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working to reduce malaria infections and death rates in the country. USAID supports Niger’s National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) to implement the national malaria control strategy. This support also includes help to improve the program’s diagnostic and treatment capacities. USAID supports the National Office of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Products to improve stock management of medicines to prevent or treat malaria, rapid diagnostic tests, and bed nets. Other divisions within the Ministry of Public Health receive help to improve disease surveillance, testing, and treatment. To prevent and control the spread of the disease, PMI supports the routine distribution of bed nets, monitors their durability, and tracks insecticide resistance. PMI also supports the NMCP’s annual campaigns during the rainy season to provide chemoprevention for children.
Activities under the U.S. Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) combat microbial resistance, zoonotic diseases, and emerging disease threats. Strengthening infection prevention and control and ramping up risk communication and community engagement are additional approaches USAID/Niger will take under the GHSA platform. USAID also supports the Ministry of Health to eradicate neglected tropical diseases such as trachoma, lymphatic filariasis, and onchocerciasis (also known as River Blindness). USAID’s surveillance and laboratory system strengthening assistance reinforces Niger’s capacity to detect and respond to emergent disease threats.
- Increased access to and availability of health and nutrition services
- Increased access to potable water and improved sanitation
- Improved health and nutritional practices
- Increased access to and use of maternal child health, family planning, and reproductive health services
- Strengthened capacity of health centers
- Strengthened primary health care services
- Reduced malaria infections and deaths
- Strengthened supply chain
- Strengthened health information system
- Improved quality and data use
- Increased capacity to detect and respond to emergent health threats
- Incorporate a youth and gender lens in program design and implementation