Transforming Women's Lives in Niger
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With one of the highest rates of maternal death in the world, a woman in Niger has a one in seven chance of dying in childbirth or pregnancy during her lifetime.

By age 16, more than half of girls in Niger are married, and many have already borne children. The overwhelming majority of these births are at home—not at health facilities. Nationwide, barely one-third of births are assisted by trained health professionals.

This International Women’s Day, we celebrate individuals in Niger who are helping women fight these odds and transforming lives. The following photo essay profiles nurse-midwives who participated in a recent training by EngenderHealth’s Fistula Care Project, which is supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), as well as young Nigerien women who are benefiting from fistula repair surgery and better maternal health services. With EngenderHealth’s—and your—help, women and girls here can have a better tomorrow.

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By the time they are 16, half of the girls in Niger are married and under pressure to have their first child—if they haven’t done so already. Here, a young woman, accompanied by her mother, awaits treatment for a pregnancy complication at the Dosso Regional Hospital’s maternity ward.

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The Fistula Care project recently held a training to improve emergency obstetric services in southwest Niger. Nurse-midwives from health facilities throughout the Dosso Region attended the workshop, which was held at the regional hospital—one of three facilities in Niger where the project supports efforts to prevent and treat obstetric fistula. The training drew 19 nurse-midwives, such as the woman featured here.

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Dr. Fatoumatou Barkiré (center) stands with nurse-midwives who participated in the EngenderHealth training. Dr. Barkiré had been the only obstetrician-gynecologist for the entire Dosso Region until EngenderHealth’s partners advocated for more skilled health professionals. Dosso now has a team of three ob-gyns—serving a population of nearly 1.5 million.

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The participants in the training shared what they learned and at the end of the workshop developed action plans to improve maternal health care services at their clinics.

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A retired midwife (left) recognized that her young neighbor was in danger from prolonged labor and brought her to the Dosso Hospital, along with the girl’s mother. The young woman gave birth to a healthy daughter, and all three generations of women are pictured here.

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A 17-year-old woman no longer suffers from fistula and its accompanying incontinence, thanks to the surgical repair she received at Lamordé National Hospital, Niamey, another Fistula Care–supported site.

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Dr. Sanda Ganda, Niger’s senior urologist, who has trained most of the country’s fistula surgeons, checks on his young fistula client at Lamordé. Thus far, more than 450 women have had their fistula repaired in Niger through USAID’s and EngenderHealth’s support.

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© 2010 EngenderHealth. Photo credit: Carrie Ngongo/EngenderHealth/The Fistula Care Project
USAID Fistula Care EngenderHealth