Today, babies and young children in Niger are less likely to die of pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, prematurity and other common childhood conditions than in the past. In 1990, 328 children under 5 died for every 1,000 born, By 2015, that number dropped to 95.
Still: most of these deaths are preventable with the right childcare practices and access to timely medical attention.
In Niger, progress is slow because less than half of all children and mothers live close (5km) to a health clinic. Only 25 per cent of babies are breastfed in the first six months of life and a mere 20 per cent of young children sleep under an insecticide-treated bed net to prevent malaria.
Little progress has been made to reduce maternal mortality: 1 in every 187 women dies during pregnancy, childbirth or after delivery.
Less than one fifth of basic emergency maternal and neonatal care needs are covered, denying countless women and babies life-saving services.
''Respiratory problems, diarrhea and malaria are the most common form of sickness among children in our village. After being sensitized by UNICEF, I receive my patients at home, diagnose them and offer them medicine and treatment. Before, the children had to walk far with their mothers to reach the nearest health centre."
Dan Araou, community volunteer in Tsagé village, Maradi region