IOM Partners with Government of Niger to Improve Health Access to Migrants and Communities along Migration Routes in Niger

Published Date: 
Thu, 09/23/2021 - 17:00


Niamey (Niger) – On 15 September, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Government of Niger launched two projects to enhance migrants and host communities’ access to health along migration routes in Niger.

The first project aims to support the national vaccination campaign against COVID-19 in Niger. IOM is providing both technical and logistical assistance to the national health authorities in the implementation of the national vaccination campaign that targets host communities, migrants and refugees. This support will ensure that vaccines are delivered in remote areas, keeping the cold chain during transport. IOM will also strengthen health workers’ capacity on the roll out of vaccinations, including waste management and follow up on the pharmacovigilance.

The one-year, 1 million Euro project is funded by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Civil Protection and European Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).

Through this joint endeavour, IOM will also support the National COVID-19 Committee to sensitize communities on vaccination and mitigating measures to stop the pandemic.

The project was launched in the margins of the 56th edition of the “Cure Salée Festival” in Agadez the largest cultural event in the country that took place from 17 to 19 September. This event allowed local health authorities to carry out awareness-raising activities on COVID-19 vaccination and to vaccinate more than 160 people.

While Niger is one of the countries with the lowest levels of COVID-19 infection in West and Central Africa, the consequences of the pandemic on mobility and migration has been significant due to the restrictions on movements and border closures.

During the border closure in Niger between 20 March 2020 and 17 June 2021, IOM Niger facilitated the return of over 2,000 Nigeriens, assisted more than 7,400 stranded foreign migrants in Niger to return to their countries of origin through the voluntary return programme. The mission has also strengthened the testing and vaccination capacities of the Government.

The second project, "Strengthening health systems along migration routes", aims to contribute to the fight against infectious diseases such as tuberculosis (TB), HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B by up scaling the capacities of the various partners along migration routes.

Funded by IOM's Internal Development Fund for USD 300,000 for a period of 12 months, the project will support the country's health authorities in responding to TB, HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis, especially in remote locations to ensure continuity of care along the main migratory routes.

“Migrants have unequal access to health care and services due to their mobility and the precarious nature of their journeys. These projects will contribute to healthier migrants and host populations along key migration routes in Niger,” said Barbara Rijks, IOM Niger’s Chief of Mission.

The projects, simultaneously launched in Agadez and Niamey, will be implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health, Population and Social Affairs, the regional public health directorates of Agadez and Niamey, the national programmes on TB and HIV/AIDS, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and other local stakeholders.

For more information, please contact Aïssatou Sy at IOM Niger.