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 2013, EngenderHealth and the U.S. Agency for International Development/West Africa launched Agir pour la Planification Familiale (AgirPF), a five-year program designed to expand women’s access to and use of family planning services in five West African countries. By educating communities on the benefits of contraception, training providers to deliver quality services, and expanding access in underserved communities, we will work to increase informed decision making about family planning and broaden voluntary use of contraceptives.
In Niger, EngenderHealth, through the Fistula Care Project, which continued its work as the Fistula Care Plus 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.