- The first case in Niger was reported on March 19, 2020 in the capital city Niamey. By April 12, six regions are affected; however, the hotspot remains Niamey with about 98 percent of cases.
- UNICEF is providing major technical support to country risk communication and community engagement activities, including by co-leading the Risk Communication and Community Engagement crisis-subcommittee, led by the Ministry of Health.
- As co-lead of the national IPC subcommittee, UNICEF supports the government in the development and implementation of the IPC strategy and interventions, providing both technical assistance and WASH supply.
- Niger witnessed several violent demonstrations against the enforcement of containment measures enacted by the Government in the context of the COVID-19 epidemic. The presence of Non-State Armed Groups continued to remain a major cause of insecurity and instability in Tillaberi and Diffa regions, increasingly affecting Tahoua, Dosso and Maradi regions.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
Following the confirmation of the first positive case of COVID-19 in Niger, UNICEF has been working closely with the Government and its partners to step up the response and prevent further proliferation of the COVID-19 virus in the country. UNICEF elaborated a response plan focused on the immediate measures that must be undertaken as priority to ensure preparedness and response actions to address the COVID-2019 outbreak. The plan is based on the Response Plan developed by the Government of Niger, with the technical assistance of its partners, including UNICEF.
UNICEF is providing support to the Government, and particularly the Ministry of Health, in the field of risk communication/community engagement, infection prevention and control, supply and logistics, epidemiological surveillance and healthcare provision. Moreover, the Country Office (CO) is closely working with the Ministry of Education to identify and implement measures to ensure continuity of education to children during the school closure period and with the regional authorities in charge of Child Protection to ensure that the needs of the expelled and migrant children are met. UNICEF is also co-leading 3 of the 8 subcommittees established by the MoH (communication/community engagement, Infection Prevention and Control and logistics) and is an active member of the others. Finally, UNICEF is also participating to the UN pandemic coordination system.
The Government of Niger has developed a national COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan for a total budget of 102,839,078,927 FCFA, comprised of the following 5 strategic axes: reinforcement of coordination; strengthening of epidemiological surveillance, strengthening of health services capacities; reinforcement of risk communication and community engagement; creation of isolation sites. Eight committees have been created to implement the plan:
1. Coordination, planning and monitoring (including official measures for restrictions on movements and activities)
2. Risk Communication and Community Engagement (limit non-essential movements and activities, practice social distancing, and enhance hygiene practices)
3. Epidemiological surveillance (line-listing, contact-tracing, investigation, daily reporting and trend analysis)
4. Laboratory and research (swab testing and case confirmation)
5. Infection Prevention and Control, Hygiene and Sanitation (SOPs, designated triage and treatment sites, Personal Protective Equipment)
6. Case management (including artificial respiration support for most severe cases)
7. Response et monitoring (including psycho-social care)
8. Logistics (procurement, local production, storage, distribution of supplies and equipment as per itemized and quantified list)
Lately important decisions have been taken by the government, including measures to contain the introduction and the spread of the diseases such as closure of Niamey and Zinder International Airports, cancelation of all domestic flights and closure of all land borders; quarantine for people coming from affected countries; consultation between the government and religious leaders to adopt measures to limit the access to worship places; closure of all pre-school, primary, secondary and higher education institutions; compulsory hygiene measures in markets, shops, restaurants, public and private services; free diagnosis and management of any confirmed cases; lockdown of the city of Niamey, affecting 1.2 M habitants.