18-01-2018 | di COOPI
Niger: Inauguration of the Mother and Child Centre in Tillabéri
The Mother and Child Centre in the health district of Tillabéri (one of Niger’s eight Regions), operating since February 2017, was conceived as a structure for the treatment of children affected by acute and severe malnutrition, financed by COOPI in quality of local healthcare partner. The inauguration saw the presence of Marzia Vigliaroni (COOPI’s head mission) together with the local medical staff, as well as the President of the Regional Council, who repeatedly expressed gratitude to the NGO for the efforts made in fighting the phenomenon, which remains one of the main causes of mortality and morbidity in the Country.
In fact, a preliminary research carried out in 2016 highlighted a particularly high malnutrition rate in children from 0 to 5 years of age, but also among mothers and pregnant women. Indeed, the Region is suffering from a strong food insecurity generated by various factors, among which the poverty of family units, climatic hostilities, recurring lack of cereals and legumes, use of contaminated water which can cause a further deterioration of the children’s nutritional status. In addition to a strongly limited healthcare assistance, the local communities – in particular leaders and authorities - carry out very few monitoring activities and have scarce awareness of the theme.
With the aim to provide practical solutions to these problems, COOPI decided to continue the work started in 2012 launching a “Programme to reduce the morbidity and mortality of children under five years of age due to severe and acute malnutrition and to satisfy the humanitarian needs of the population affected by the armed conflict in Niger.” The activities as a whole, financed by ECHO, aim at supporting the integrated taking in charge of 5,365 children suffering from acute and severe malnutrition with medical complications (of whom 805 in Tillabéri) following proper specialist standards. The goal is to guarantee a quality and free medical assistance and to actively involve the local communities in monitoring and fighting the phenomenon.
Besides carrying out screening activities with reference to malnutrition, the Mother and Child Centre will provide children with psycho-social support. During the inauguration, the local healthcare staff highlighted that the Centre will contribute in improving the children’s general psychological state, since «besides needing drugs, children also need recreational activities and appropriate stimuli». This highlights the relevance of psychologists and assistants in guaranteeing a happy growth to the small patients. Lastly, a particular thanks was addressed to Unicef, as it provided the Centre with equipment and complete kits suitable to assure psycho-social support.