Early warning signs in Niger
Niger is facing a potentially deadly food crisis.
Rainfall has been limited and crops are failing. Families are struggling to feed themselves and the early warning signs are signalling a looming food crisis.
Children are always the most vulnerable – with children under five suffering the most from a lack of nutritious food.
One child among thousands
Thousands of children already pass through our health centres in Niger every year. Some need immediate life-saving help and our staff expect to see an increase in these cases if immediate action is not taken.
Two-year-old Aouta was one of these children. Weighing a third of the what he should, and showing signs of a life-threatening infection, he was immediately rushed to hospital by Save the Children.
Aouta’s father is a farmer and his family were already living on the edge of survival.
When Aouta suffered from acute diarrhoea and vomiting, his family were unable to access medical care. Instead, his mother took him to a local healer who used counterfeit medicine, a common problem here.
Unsurprisingly, Aouta did not get better but deteriorated rapidly. For two months he fought sickness and lost weight. By the time one of our health workers found Aouta, his mother thought he would die.
Life-saving health workers
Trained by Save the Children, our community health worker instantly diagnosed Aouta as severely malnourished.
He was taken to hospital, where our team of doctors and nurses quickly stabilized him. He has now recovered and is back at home.
Aouta was found just in time. Without our network of community health workers, his story may have had a different ending.
We are rapidly scaling up our health programmes to cope with the rise in malnutrition amongst the children of Niger. But we can’t do this alone.
Unless the international community acts now on the looming crisis, our team will see more cases like Aouta.
As a result of Save the Children’s partnership with Glaxo Smith Kline, we have a network of health workers who work within a community and deliver basic health care, referring serious cases to clinics. These workers have become a critical bridge between the community and health facilities. With the support of Glaxo Smith Kline, we have expanded the reach of these workers to two further districts.