Further distribution to 221 children concluded successfully

by Simone Winneg,  2010/08/13

“After many long weeks of preparations, the big day has finally arrived: the distribution and the first Food Demonstration, which is a training measure for the preparation of the additional food, as well as the explanations to those in charge at the various health stations, were important steps, which demanded a lot of time and preparation.

During the so-called Food Demonstrations, the mothers are shown how to prepare and measure out the additional food correctly. Photo: humedica/Jennifer Gerstendorf

But all those tasks had only been preparations for the decisive step: the distribution of additional food to the mothers and undernourished children in the district of Kollo. Through the bush, using roads in partly very bad conditions, which sometimes simply ended in lakes due to the rain, we have cleared our way to the most remote health station taking part in our project: Tondigameye

Tondigameye is located at about a two-hour drive from the capital of Niamey (three hours from Kollo), but it is not connected by a tarred road. It can only be reached on sand tracks and by crossing a rocky, moonlike landscape. It is a challenge for both people and machines, but it definitely pays off.

At our arrival we are faced with an overwhelming scenario: more than 200 women and their children have been waiting at the small health station since early in the morning in order to receive their rations.

Each of the women has brought along a large bowl, a bucket, a rice bag or simply a plastic bag in order to carry their two-week ration home with them. The atmosphere is marked by a buzz of voices, crying children, the burning sun, and the comparably “cool” temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius.

The women have brought along anything that can be used to transport their food rations. Photo: humedica/Florian Behrchen

Fati, the manager of the small health station, seems nervous, but still elated: “There you are at last”, she said to welcome us. “The women are already waiting for you”. We quickly make our final preparations. Due to the large number of women crowding in on the distribution point, we have to close off the courtyard before starting.

Equipped with their distribution cards, the women finally start to line up a little more orderly, in order to have their children’s weight checked before the mothers receive a ration for their undernourished children.

The humedica team members assist with the distribution and give advice readily – and of course it is a matter of fact for us to lend a hand – be it with closing off the yard, checking the weight, mixing the additional food or distributing it.

Soon, however, the local employees get into their own working rhythm and we become superfluous. Without our assistance they continue the distribution which will last until late at night, since 127 boys and 94 girls suffering from undernutrition have come to Tondigameye in order to receive additional food – which will prevent their state of malnutrition from deteriorating and help them to reach a healthy body weight once more.

Tondigameye is only one of the eight health centres at which humedica will distribute food to the needy population in cooperation with the German Federal Foreign Office and the World Food Programme of the United Nations.

In this way we will be able to help several thousands of children and pregnant or nursing women and to contribute substantially to improving their health conditions over the next few months.

Full of hope and friendly, the women welcomed the humedica team members. Photo: humedica/Simone Winneg

Even in the same week in which the first distribution series has been carried through successfully, new supplies are sent from Germany: the first air freight containing special additional food arrives in Niger. The heavy packages are unloaded with joint efforts and they are stored at the new warehouse at the humedica hospital in Kollo.

We take these preparations, since we know that one single distribution will not be enough to fight the famine in Niger. The harvest season, which everyone is yearning for, starts in October at the earliest, and this is still a long time off.

Until then, hundreds and thousands of people will still depend on food shipments provided by third parties. It is the children in particular who need our help, in order to recover from the critical state of health which they are in without any fault of their own.

Please make a donation for those suffering from hunger in Niger via our online form, send us a text message containing the reference DOC to 8 11 90, or make a donation to the account below:

humedica e. V.
Donation reference "Famine Niger"
Account 47 47
Bank Code 734 500 00
Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

Thank you very much and kind regards from Africa,

Yours
Simone

Fighting against the famine and for an improvement of the situation step by step. Photo: humedica/Simone Winneg

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