Humanitarian Action Report 2007 - Homepage

WCARO NIGER

CRITICAL ISSUES FOR CHILDREN

Niger is the lowest-ranked country in UNDP’s Human Development Index, with 61 per cent of its population surviving on less than $1 a day and almost 49 per cent under 15 years of age. One child out of five dies before the age of five, primarily due to acute respiratory infections, water-borne diseases, malaria, other preventable diseases and malnutrition. Global acute malnutrition (both moderate and severe) in children aged 6-59 months is above the emergency threshold at 10.3 per cent and almost one child under five out of two suffers from chronic malnutrition. Poor hygienic practices contribute to the persistence of water-related diseases, which have been exacerbated during recent emergencies (drought, floods, and cholera outbreaks). In 2006, 1,018 cholera cases and 4,103 meningitis cases were reported, with a lethality rate of 5 per cent and 7.1 per cent respectively. In addition, malaria is endemic in Niger, with more than 750,000 cases notified in 2005 and 2,054 deaths reported.

Poor school attendance, especially among girls, contributes to Niger’s 85 per cent illiteracy rate. More than 84 per cent of schools have no latrines, hindering school access and quality as well as students’ health. The precariousness of women’s livelihoods has an important effect on the access of children to education and on the abandonment and trafficking of children. Children’s rights are often violated as they face abuses, violence, exploitation and neglect.

PLANNED HUMANITARIAN ACTION FOR 2007

Health and nutrition: In order to reduce child mortality and to diminish/maintain the rate of acute malnutrition at or below 10 per cent, UNICEF will treat 300,000 under-five children and implement a behavioural change communication plan at the community level, targeting key population groups. Activities will include: support the development/implementation of national policies and protocols and ensure uninterrupted supply of therapeutic and supplementary foods and anthropometric tools to treat moderate and severe acute malnutrition in under-five children as well as blanket feeding for children under three in the most vulnerable regions; promote exclusive breastfeeding and adequate complementary feeding for young children; ensure uninterrupted supply of vitamin A supplements, de-worming tablets as well as systematic immunization; undertake nutrition surveys, early warning and surveillance, and advocacy; improve utilization of long-lasting insecticidal nets for infants, young children and pregnant women; undertake contingency planning for meningitis epidemics; reinforce preparedness on managing cholera outbreaks; reinforce local capacity to cope with disasters and pre-position supplies; train staff and community workers on care of sick children particularly against acute respiratory infections, diarrhoea and malaria.

Water, sanitation and hygiene: UNICEF’s activities will include the management of diarrhoeal diseases and the promotion of handwashing; water source protection to ensure water availability to all with minimum risk of contamination; the promotion of improved sanitation and sensitization using existing and newly developed training materials; the improvement of school environment providing water and sanitation facilities.

Education and child protection: UNICEF will rehabilitate classrooms and equipment damaged by floods in five districts; provide school manuals for approximately 1,500 children affected by floods; construct latrines in 100 schools in cholera-prone regions; provide parental education on key nutrition and hygiene issues in 100 pre-school centres and 400 schools, in collaboration with women’s associations.

Summary of UNICEF financial needs for 2007

Sector

US$

Health and nutrition

5,879,318

Water, sanitation and hygiene

1,300,000

Education and child protection

380,000

Total*

7,759,318

* The total includes a maximum recovery rate of 7 per cent. The actual recovery rate on contributions will be calculated in accordance with UNICEF Executive Board Decision 2006/7 dated 9 June 2006.