Médecins Sans Frontières brings medical assistance to Malian refugees in Niger
February 9, 2012
Niamey - Following the displacement of people as a result of violence in neighbouring Mali, close to 10,000 Malians have found refuge in the Tillabéry region in Niger.
A team from the medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) travelled to the area to evaluate the most pressing needs in the town of Tchinagodar. Team members were particularly concerned by the extreme vulnerability of the refugees as well as the very poor living conditions of the resident population.
“Refugees currently have no access to drinking water, food, latrines or proper shelter, and have no access to basic healthcare,” says Benoît Kayembé, MSF’s head of mission in Niger. “We’re in emergency mode. The Tillabéry region was already facing an uncertain situation in terms of food security, and this is being exacerbated by the arrival of thousands of refugees.”
MSF has responded by sending an emergency team to respond to people’s medical needs, in collaboration with local authorities and the Ministry of Health. The team will provide primary healthcare and referrals, screening and treatment for malnutrition, vaccinations for children and care for pregnant women.
“Our emergency response will evolve and adapt depending on the involvement of other humanitarian organisations in the region,” says Kayembé.
Next week, an MSF team will travel to the north of Mali to evaluate the situation of an estimated 30,000 displaced people in the region. Another team will head to Mauritania to evaluate the situation of Malian refugees there.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and its partners – the Nigerien medical NGOs Forum Santé Niger (FORSANI) et Bien-Être de la Femme et de l’Enfant au Niger (BEFEN) as well as the international NGO ALIMA – work in close collaboration with the Nigerien Ministry of Public Health in the fields of child malnutrition, paediatric care and maternal health in a number of health posts and hospitals in the region of Maradi,Tahoua, Zinder and Agadez. MSF also provides medical care to the migrant or displaced population in the region of Agadez. In addition, MSF supports Nigerien health authorities in responding to emergencies when they arise.