IOM Launches Japan-Funded Emergency Response for Displaced Persons in Niger

Posted: 
08/25/20
Themes: 
IOM, Internally Displaced Persons

Niamey – This week, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in coordination with the Ministries of Humanitarian Action and Disaster Management (MAH/GC) and of Public Health in Niger, is launching a six-month emergency response project aimed at serving displaced persons.  

Funded by the Government of Japan to the amount of USD 200,000, the project will target 14,000 displaced persons and host community members in the Diffa and Tillabery regions in Niger, where conflict-affected communities lack basic healthcare. 

Niger, located in the Sahel region, is one of the least developed countries in the world and thus faces critical humanitarian needs. This crisis is aggravated by a deteriorating security situation, particularly in those parts of the Diffa region bordering Nigeria and Chad, and those of Tillabery bordering Mali, Burkina Faso and Benin. 

This volatile security context adds to an already fraught situation where limited access to basic services–such as education, healthcare and running water–leave large segments of the population vulnerable to disease outbreak and other risks. The country is particularly vulnerable to meningitis, measles, cholera, Rift Valley fever, polio and malaria –each of these exacerbated by the recent global COVID-19 pandemic.  

Additionally, access to basic health services is often more limited for internally displaced persons (IDPs), refugees, returnees and remote border communities. 

Aligned with the Central Sahel Appeal and the Humanitarian Response Plan, the project being implemented this month will extend to January 2021, with the aim of alleviating some of the most urgent health-related needs these communities face and improve access to basic health services. 

In order to identify the most pressing medical needs in at-risk communities, the project will first carry out needs assessments in the communes of Abala and Diffa, in cooperation with its long-standing partner, the local NGO “DEDI” (for Développement Endogène Durable et Innovation). Following these assessments, health-related core relief items will be distributed to those communities deemed most at risk of disease outbreaks. 

“This project comes at a much-needed time, seeing as the security situation has significantly isolated these communities who were already lacking basic services,” said Mahamadou Tankari Aboubacar, Health Coordinator with NGO DEDI since 2018. “We are proud to be able to bring our contribution to these remote communities and to see them thrive again.”  

The problem of access for health workers has worsened due to growing violence, which has led to regional authorities imposing a ban on the use of motorcycles. Motorcycles are the most common mode of transport used by non-state armed groups, as well as by healthcare workers trying to reach remote areas.  

“Due to the growing insecurity in the regions of Tillabery and Diffa, healthcare workers do not always have access to remote areas where vulnerable populations need medical support,” explained Barbara Rijks, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Niger. “It’s imperative to address the most pressing health needs of these conflict-affected communities and to improve their access to healthcare.” 

IOM will support healthcare workers by providing transport to targeted areas, as well as transport for patients to health facilities on an ad hoc basis. Healthcare workers will focus mostly on providing support with pre- and post-natal care and vaccination campaigns and also will provide for other medical care as needed. 

For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac at IOM Niger, Tel: +227 8931 8764, Email: mchiriac@iom.int.  

  • The project will address the health needs of 14,000 beneficiaries in two conflict-affected regions in Niger. Photo: IOM/Monica Chiriac