Press Release —Local September 21, 2021

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

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

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, "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 strengthening 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.

The second project aims to support the national vaccination campaign against COVID-19 in Niger. IOM will provide both technical and logistical support to the national health authorities in the implementation of the national vaccination campaign that targets host communities, migrants and refugees. IOM will provide logistical support to deliver the vaccines to remote locations in the country, keeping the cold chain during transport. The Organization 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 project, IOM will also support the National COVID Committee to disseminate awareness raising materials and messages to communities. The project kicked off last week during the 56th edition of the “Cure Salée Festival” in Agadez), the largest cultural event in the country) where 160 people were vaccinated by local health authorities, following awareness-raising activities.

“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.

While Niger is one of the countries with the lowest levels of COVID-19 infection in West and Central Africa, the consequences of this global 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 has facilitated the return of over 2,000 Nigeriens who were stranded abroad, assisted more than 7,400 stranded foreign migrants in Niger with their voluntary return to their countries of origin and has supported the capacity of testing and vaccination efforts of the Nigerien Government.

The projects, which were 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 organizations.

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