The European Union (EU) has allocated funding of around CFAF 280 million to Niger to deal with the cholera epidemic.
The funding follows a press conference held on August 9, when Botto Ahmet, the Minister of Public Health in Niger, officially declared the cholera epidemic in the country.
People in six of the eight regions of the country − Maradi, Zinder, Dosso, Tahoua, Niamey, Tillabéri – are suffering from the epidemic. Maradi, Tahoua and Zinder have the most cases of cholera.
The EU funds will enable the health districts and humanitarian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to provide help to those affected.
The humanitarian NGO, The Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA), will help affected people in the regions of Maradi and Zinder.
It will establish a cholera treatment centre in Maradi, two treatment units in Guidan Roumdji, and two more treatment units in Mirriah.
The NGO will train national health personnel to ensure quality care is provided and consult community workers, who are essential for the identification of cases and their referral.
Patrick Andrey, responsible for EU humanitarian aid in Niger, said the financial support will enable ALIMA to respond urgently in the most affected areas by treating people and reducing the risk of the epidemic spreading.
Community awareness-raising activities will make it possible to inform citizens about the availability of free healthcare. It will also help to improve hygiene in hospitals and clinics.
ReliefWeb, the humanitarian information service provided by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that as of August 16, Niger recorded 845 confirmed cases with 35 deaths.
The epidemic spread rapidly and on August 24, the number of confirmed cases had increased to 1,904 with 70 deaths.
A total of 23 health districts had reported cases out of which 18 are already managing confirmed cases.
ReliefWeb said that as of September 18, 4,651 cholera cases had been recorded across the country, including 149 deaths, 55% of the cases were women.
Maradi region is among the most affected with 2,623 cases, followed by the Tahoua region with 1,058 cases and the Zinder region with 515 cases.
Cholera is easily spread when the sewerage systems are broken down or blocked, leading to improper disposal of untreated human waste into the environment. It can also be spread by open defecation.