Niger is a landlocked West African nation with one of the hottest climates in the world. Only 15% of its land is suitable for livestock and agriculture. Frequent drought, desertification, and population growth contribute to its economic hardship. Health care services are limited and the country has one of the highest rates of maternal death in the world: One in seven women die in pregnancy or childbirth.
In Niger, EngenderHealth, through the Fistula Care Project funded by USAID, has worked since 2005 to prevent and treat obstetric fistula, a devastating childbirth injury. The project enhances the capacity of the hospitals to provide surgical repair for fistula. Nurses are trained in counseling and treating fistula clients, and-through ongoing training and supervision-doctors continue to develop new skills for performing more complex surgeries.
To prevent fistula, the project raises awareness of fistula in communities and helps community members come up with solutions for the maternal health challenges they face. Community leaders and members of the health management committees from local clinics work together, discussing challenges and creating action plans to ensure that women can access emergency obstetric care in their hour of need.
Current treatment sites include:
- Lamordé National Hospital
- Maradi Regional Hospital
- Dosso Regional Hospital
- Tahoua Regional Hospital
Fistula Care also supports La Maternité Issaka Gazoby in Niamey and Téra District Hospital in Téra to strengthen fistula prevention and increase referrals for services. All fistula treatment and prevention activities are implemented by the national Fistula Eradication Network (REF)—a coordinating body made up of women's groups, civil society associations, public hospitals, development partners, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Women's Promotion.
EngenderHealth also supports the Action for West Africa Region II (AWARE II) project in Niger, as well as Burkina Faso, Togo and Mauritania.