Shipping medicines to Niger

Niger, September 15, 2009

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Mercy Corps  </span>
    True to Niger fashion, the transfer of such a valuable donation needed to be accompanied with a televised ceremony that included a prayer for the local imam and speeches by the Canton Chief, Commune Mayor, Departmental Prefect, Mercy Corps Deputy Program Manager, Chief Doctor, and President of the Community Health Management Team. In this image you see the Canton Chief giving his speech and being filmed. Photo: Mercy Corps

What can one shipment of donated medicines do? How about treat 20,000 mothers and children in Niger suffering from common maternal and childhood illnesses.

Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world. Mercy Corps works side by side with doctors, nurses and public-health officials in the tiny West African nation to improve care for pregnant women and small children.

We've developed a program to restore severely malnourished children to good health, and we train community health teams to conduct home visits and village education sessions. Our goal: to ensure vital perinatal care reaches 80 percent of pregnant women in the area.

As part of our efforts, we recently shipped more than 60,000 doses of various medications — medicines such as penicillin, antibacterial, anti-infective agencies, anasthetics. These drugs were specifically selected for this project because they were identified by the districts as being the most needed and most difficult drugs to acquire locally.

The medicines will improve the health of 20,000 pregnant and lactating mothers and their children under three years old. The medicines were delivered to clinics in the Filingue and Loga districts — two of the poorest, driest and most precarious areas of the landlocked country.

Our shipment represents a six-month supply for the clinics in Filingue and Loga.