Situation Overview and 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, already facing the consequences of multiple crisis (nutrition, conflicts, natural disasters). Niamey remains the centre of the outbreak, with more than 90% of the reported cases, while Dosso and Zinder regions are the second most affected. According with its response plan, UNICEF continues to support the Government, and particularly the Ministry of Health (MoH), in the field of risk communication/community engagement (RCCE), infection prevention and control (IPC), supply and logistics, epidemiological surveillance and healthcare provision. Moreover, the Country Office is closely working with the Ministry of Education to ensure continuity of education to children during the school closure period and with Chi ld Protection actors to ensure that the needs of children on the move are met as their vulnerability is exacerbated by extreme measures taken by destination countries . UNICEF is co-leading 3 of the 8 sub-committees established by the MoH (RCCE, IPC and logistics) and is an active member of the others. UNICEF is also participating to the UN pandemic coordination system.
The government has taken actions to adapt the curfew timing to the Ramadan period which has started on the 23rd April 2020. The calm is back in the main cities, but vigilance is needed for the coming days.
UNICEF’s COVID-19 response
UNICEF participated in field visits to all five health districts and all health facilities (public and private) in Niamey organized by the Regional Directorate of Health. The main objective of the field visits was to assess the status of the implementation of surveillance activities in the context of the response to the COVID19 pandemic. The visits showed that the health facilities are not yet enough prepared to cope with COVID-19 (triage not systematically done, insufficient protection of health workers, alert system not systematic, etc.). UNICEF contributed to the improvement of the working conditions through the delivery of office equipment and supplies to the Case Management Commission and to the strengthening in the follow-up of outpatients at home with the involvement of five new mobile teams. UNICEF provided technical support through the improvement of the Lamorde Hospital capacity in Niamey (48 beds with artificial breathing support for moderate cases).