humedica staffer visits clinic in Kollo

by Lina Koch,  2013/07/08

The Republic of Niger ranks last on the United NationsHuman Development Index. The West African desert state is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world. The majority of Niger’s population struggle for their survival with only one dollar a day.

The number of deaths due to malnourishment or undernourishment is alarmingly high. Even higher is the number of those who suffer from mental or physical consequences of food insufficiency.

In 2009, humedica began to tackle this problem and opened the hospital “Complexe de Santé Hosanna” in Kollo, a town that urgently needed support.

The clinic is situated in the southwest of Niger and focuses on obstetrics as well as maternal and child care. A reason for this is that in Niger, mothers and children are a group that barely has access to professional care elsewhere.

In mid-June, humedica staffer Susanne Merkel left the head office in Kaufbeuren for one of our regular visits to Niger. One week later, she returned to Germany, rather dismayed at the current situation in the West African country. And yet, in spite of all adversities, the humedica hospital continues to be a place of hope for thousands of people.

When Susanne Merkel arrived in Niger, the capital city of Niamey and the South Western provinces of Dosso and Tillaberi had been without electricity for three weeks already. A heavy storm had caused overhead lines from Nigeria to fall. This had brought governmental institutions to a standstill as well as a multitude of little shops that do not have access to emergency generators due to limited means.

The people affected are increasingly afraid that a further recession might hit the country’s economy, which is in a very weak state anyway. Furthermore, due to the hot summer temperatures, the water supply had been reduced or even stopped in parts of Niamey and the surrounding areas. Two large electricity turbines had fused due to the sudden high demand. The darkness at night exacerbates the tense security situation even more.

According to Cherif Chako, economist at the University of Niamey, the situation will have far-reaching consequences: “The current energy crisis will have severe consequences for the economic growth in our country. Production, trade and consumption – all areas are affected by the crisis.”

The humedica clinic in Kollo was also affected by the power failure. “We had several power blackouts in the hospital so that the temperature in our store room for medicine, which is normally kept cool all the time, rose to 34 degrees. This makes is difficult for us to give adequate treatment to the high number of malaria patients.

We were told that we might have to wait up to six weeks until everything would be working again”, Susanne Merkel reports. She is now hoping to receive a solar plant as a donation in kind. “The clinic needs to be able to store energy. Only thus can we guarantee continuous medical treatment in the case of a power blackout.”

Apart from the current crisis, Susanne Merkel also reports about some positive aspects of her stay. “My intention for this journey was to get to know the project and the hospital staff. It was great to see that the majority of the staff are locals by now and that the clinic has a remarkable medical capability.”

About 75.000 patients have already received treatment since the “Complexe de Santé Hosanna” was opened. The reaction of the Nigerien population to the hospital is very positive so that plans are being made for a further extension of the mothers’ and children’s ward. A new kitchen has already been constructed, which made more space available for further hospital rooms.

“I hope that we will soon be able to start with the construction of a new building. We already care for many women and children, yet there are still lots of people who are in urgent need of our medical support”, Susanne Merkel concludes her report.

The Nigerien population is still suffering from severe poverty and insufficient medical care. To continue helping people in Niger we need your support, dear friends and sponsors. Please support our work in Niger with a specific donation and become part of it. Thank you so much!

      humedica e. V.
      Reference “Clinic Niger“
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

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