MSF report highlights malaria and malnutrition issues in Niger

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières released a report on April 25 which showed an increase in children with malaria and malnutrition in Niger.

The report showed that as rainy season is approaching, there has been a spike in the cases of malaria and malnutrition. This would normally not be alarming, however, the data shows that there is a spike from last year's numbers.

MSF is calling for help to prevent and treat the cases of malaria and malnutrition before the situation becomes worse.

"Urgent action is needed to stop children from continuing to die from these preventable causes," Luis Encinas, MSF's program manager for Niger, said. "To tackle malnutrition and malaria, we need innovative approaches, and we need to work on two levels at the same time: prevention and cure."

Last year, the deaths form malaria in Niger spiked to over 3,000. At this same time, there was also an increase of the number of children being admitted to the hospital for severe malnutrition.

"The effort being made to treat malnutrition in Niger is tremendous, and this needs to be supported," José Antonio Bastos, president of MSF in Spain, said. "The problem in 2012 was that a massive plan for treating malnutrition was prepared and implemented, but it excluded other health needs, in particular malaria prevention and immunizations. It failed to take account that even if you provide children with appropriate nutrition, you can still lose them to malaria or a respiratory infection. There is a need for an integrated response, rather than for pushing one response to the exclusion of others."