"Plumpy Nut" is the name of a high calorific paste that is not only tasty but that also restores the physical strength of under- and malnourished children. Photo: humedica/Enoxi Sureka
Trust is high and every help welcome
by Dr. Lothar Biskup, Ruth Bücker
In 2005 already, humedica teams were involved in helping people in Niger, when a plague of locusts and a long lasting drought had caused a dramatic famine that cost the lives of numerous people and threatened that of millions. This aid mission was the starting point for the development of a well working medical clinic that was built in cooperation with different partners. For thousands of people this clinic represents the only access to medical care.
When in the following years, crop failures and drought periods led to acute and life-threatening food shortages, humedica again supported the hunger-stricken population, distributed food and special high calorie nutrition, provided medical care and, thus, could at least alleviate the effects of mal- and under-nutrition.
On the list of the so-called Human Development Index (HDI), an indicator for the degree of development of countries, Niger ranked second to last in the year 2011. That means that the living conditions for the population are the worst that can be imagined. Hunger is one of the hardships people in Niger have to struggle against.
Yet they surprise us with their courage and trust, their never-ending hope and their will to improve the situation of their country. Dr. Lothar Biskup is one of the numerous humedica doctors who has been on a voluntary mission in Niger. The doctor from Neuss would like to report on both the depressing moments and the moments of hope they experienced during their work:
“Niger is and is likely to remain one of the poorest countries of the world. And yet the people here are patient in bearing their situation and are incredibly grateful for every help and attention. Even when patients, after waiting for hours, have to go home empty-handed, since the rush of patients is too great and severe illnesses are treated first, they leave without complaining.
“I can try again tomorrow! People at the humedica-clinic in Kollo will surely help me!” Statements like these and the patience of all our patients show us that their trust is simply great and that people here know that we help them as well as we can.
In March and April of this year, I went to Niger for the third time. Like on my first two trips, I was again deeply impressed by the warmth and modesty of the people here. What impressed me especially was to see how peacefully and cooperatively Muslims and Christians live and work side by side. Also in the clinic in Kollo, where help is what counts, and not the religious community people belong to.
I also noticed this during a trip to the capital, Niamey, where a community project that offers training workshops for street children has been run by Muslims and Catholics together for several years. In order to provide for a better future of these children – far from living in the streets without any chances – young people learn trades and become tailors, barbers, carpenters, metal workers or – what is most popular – car mechanics.
An omnipresent and lasting or rather recurring sorrow is caused by the acute food shortage. Hunger continues to be dramatic in Niger since a drought that has been lasting for years does not allow any sufficient harvests. This makes it more than difficult to ensure a basic food supply for the Nigerien population.”
The pediatrician was particularly touched by the fate and the state of health of a little boy. Little Adamu is dangerously mal- and undernourished. At the age of five he weighs only 2.7 kilograms. His mother had to manage a walk of several days to take her weakened son to the humedica clinic. The mother’s degree of undernourishment was alarming as well and correspondingly she had not been able to breastfeed her son for a long time.
At the clinic, Dr. Biskup and his local colleagues were able to strengthen the boy with special nutrition, to stabilize his state of health and to allow the mother to buy a milk goat by means of donations that the doctors themselves had brought from Germany.
In spite of the positive ending of this story, the thoughts of paediatrician Lothar Biskup repeatedly revolve around the same question: “What would have happened to Adamu if his mother had arrived only a bit later in Kollo? And what about all the other families? Unfortunately, there are still many other Adamus in Niger! And therefore every help is welcome and so much needed!”
„Ay sabou aranse goummo!“ – I thank you so much!”
These miserable and desperate fates shock us, but they also show us the great importance of our humedica clinic in Kollo. It is a place of hope, where people receive concrete help and experience charity. Help that continues even when attention leaves and their hunger – though continuing - is no longer reported on.
In order to give life-saving help we need your support. Please support our clinic in Niger with an online donation and help us to fight the consequences of hunger that these people are victims of through no fault of their own. Thank you!
humedica e. V.
Reference „Clinic Niger“
Account 47 47
Bank Code 734 500 00
SWIFT-Code: BYLA DE M1 KFB