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At a glance: Niger

UN Secretary-General visits UNICEF-supported hospital in Niger

© UNICEF Niger/2005/Page
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan holds the hand of a baby girl being cared for at the UNICEF-supported Children’s Hospital in Zinder, Niger.

By Kent Page

ZINDER, Niger, 23 August 2005 – On the first day of his visit to Niger, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan got a first-hand look at the food crisis affecting the country. “I came here to see things for myself and I’m very happy that I came,” said Mr. Annan to a group of international and national media. “I was able to visit the Children’s Hospital in Zinder and I also saw MSF’s (Médecins Sans Frontières) operations. I think that both are very effective and both are helping the children,” said Mr. Annan.

Children at the UNICEF-supported hospital in Zinder are being treated for a variety of ailments including under-nutrition, malaria, acute respiratory infections, anaemia, pneumonia and other leading childhood diseases. UNICEF Niger supports the Children’s Hospital by providing therapeutic milk, therapeutic food, essential drugs, mosquito bed-nets, weighing scales and growth monitoring boards. UNICEF also supports the training of national health workers throughout Niger.

© UNICEF Niger/2005/Page
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his wife Nane Annan talk to the mother of a sick child through an interpreter at the Children's Hospital in Zinder.

"I think that it's very important that we, as the international community, work with the government to deal with this emergency, not just in the short-term, but also in the long-term issues of food security to ensure that in another 3-5 years we don't come back to the same problem," continued Mr. Annan. "I will have the opportunity to discuss with the President, NGOs and UN agencies working in Niger how we can pool our efforts to make a difference. For the immediate term, we need to do all we can to help those in need, particularly the children we have seen." 

UNICEF has provided the therapeutic feeding centre in Zinder with mosquito bed-nets and supports 125 therapeutic and supplementary feeding centres throughout Niger with therapeutic milk, therapeutic food, essential drugs, mosquito bed-nets, de-worming tablets, oral re-hydration salts, weighing scales and growth monitoring boards.

On Wednesday the UN Secretary General will meet with the President and Prime Minister of Niger and participate in working meetings with UN staff on food security and development.




24 August 2005:
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan is in Niger to witness firsthand the country’s food crisis.

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