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The EU helps Niger’s fragile health system to cope with refugees fleeing from conflict

Located in southeastern Niger and bordering Nigeria and Chad, the Diffa region has suffered from the impact of the conflict in Nigeria that started in 2014 between the armed group Boko Haram and the Nigerian security forces. The official number of displaced people in the Diffa region is more than 250,000 (including refugees and internally displaced people). Overall, 469,000 people in the region need of humanitarian assistance in 2019, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Healthcare is a critical need in an already vulnerable region that currently finds itself struggling to cope with the massive influx of people seeking refuge from conflict.

The EU allocated up to €15 million in 2018 for emergency assistance to the victims of the Lake Chad crisis in Niger. As part of this assistance, funding goes to medical organisations like Save the Children or Action Against Hunger to provide basic healthcare and manage the increasing rates of severe malnutrition.

The nutrition situation of children under five years of age in Diffa is extremely worrying: the rate of severe acute malnutrition, the most severe form of undernourishment, is 2.5%, exceeding the 2% threshold beyond which the World Health Organization (WHO) considers that there is an emergency.

By Mariama Mary Fall, Information and Communication Assistant, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)

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