Like other countries in the Sahel, Niger faces various humanitarian crises: the conflict in Lake Chad, recurrent malnutrition and food insecurity, disease outbreaks, floods and droughts, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic. On top of this, there is an emergency level of severe acute malnutrition affecting children under 5 years old.
With EU humanitarian funding, the Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA) works to improve health of populations affected by a shock or an epidemic. ALIMA also fights infant and juvenile mortality associated with severe acute malnutrition.
ALIMA and its local partners also train mothers and other caregivers to detect malnutrition in their children. They use a simple tri-colored bracelet, as part of the ‘MUAC for Mothers’ programme.
MUAC, or Mid-Upper Arm Circumference screening, is a safe and easy way to measure acute malnutrition in children. This is even more crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic, as mass screenings were cancelled.
In 2021, almost 29 million Sahelians will require humanitarian assistance and protection, according to the United Nations – 5 million more than in 2020. The EU allocated €32.3 million in 2021 to Niger, mainly to provide food, shelter and nutrition assistance.
Text and photos: © Djibo Tagaza / ALIMA 2021. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.