Federal Foreign Office supports the fight against hunger

by Simone Winneg,  2010/07/01

„The famine in Niger is no longer only a threat, but it has become reality. At the humedica hospital we register several children per day who - “besides” suffering from diseases such as for example malaria, skin infections or respiratory diseases – also are moderately or severely malnourished.

In 2005 humedica doctors already offered relief during a severe famine. Photo: humedica

Cases of four-months old infants with a body weight of only 2.5 kilogrammes are no longer the exception here, but rather the standard. Dr Andrea Kranen-Sutter, a German paediatrician who is working for humedica on an honorary basis for four weeks, is alarmed when she states:

“You lose your feeling for normality. In the meantime my attention is rather caught by a well-nourished child who is not lethargic. The children here are so small and slight!”

Malnourishment is a chronic problem in Niger, but it has reached a completely different and terrible scale due to the current famine. Where the rate of malnourished children below the age of five had amounted to 8.6 percent before the famine, it has increased to 14.8 percent of malnourished children among those examined during the latest studies.

It is high time for action! Together with the World Food Programme of the United Nations, humedica has chosen nine health centres in the district of Kollo, which were affected most strongly by the famine, in order to distribute additional food rations to malnourished children, pregnant women and nursing mothers.

The first shipment will arrive soon and preparations are already running at full speed. Scales for weighing have been distributed, registers controlled, storing rooms inspected and recommendations have been exchanged. Everything is ready for the arrival and distribution of the additional food.

Thanks to a generous donation of the German Federal Foreign Office, which amounted to about 240,000 euros, the relief measures which will partly take place directly at the humedica hospital could be initiated immediately. Apart from being a distribution point for the surrounding rural areas, our little hospital will also serve as a centre for malnourished patients.

Mothers who are malnourished and weak themselves, cover distances of up to 50 kilometres in order to take their children to the humedica hospital. Photo: humedica/Dieter Schmidt

Up to now over 1,000 children and 300 pregnant and nursing women have been registered, and more will follow. Until the first crop will be harvested – which is still two or three months from now - we are expecting a significant increase of this number, with each figure representing an individual person’s fate.

Our only way to succeed is to register the children as early as possible in our programme, when they are not yet severely malnourished. In order to realise these projects successfully and efficiently and to offer fast and effective help to the children and women, we will need your support also in future!

Kind regards from Kollo,
Simone Winneg”

Please hear our call and support our work by means of a targeted donation:
      humedica e.V.
      Donation reference „Famine Niger"
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

Please also donate online for the starving people in Niger or help us to offer malnourished persons some relief by means of a text message:
Simply send DOC to the abbreviated dialling +49 8 11 90 and support us with a one-time donation of 5 euros, with 4.83 euros of this amount being directly channelled into the humedica project work. Thank you very much.

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