Our Representative, Dr. Félicité Tchibindat responds to our most pressing questions on the impact of Covid-19 on children.
What’s the situation in Niger?
Niger reported its first case of Covid-19 on March 19. Two months later, as of May 19th, the country has recorded 909 confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and 55 reported deaths. Out of them, 714 people already recovered and 140 are currently under treatment.
While all regions are touched by the pandemic, the most affected regions remain Niamey and Zinder, the last one recently presenting a rapid increase in the number of cases.
UNICEF closely works 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 including malnutrition, conflicts and natural disasters.
In countries facing humanitarian crises like Niger, the COVID-19 outbreak is creating significant additional pressure on an already overburdened health and social service delivery systems and exacerbating vulnerabilities in affected populations. In your opinion why Africa, and countries like Niger, are resisting better than the rest of the world?
In your opinion why Africa, and countries like Niger, are resisting better than the rest of the world?
As of mid-May, most African countries aren’t reporting many cases and they are also reporting very few deaths. In a continent of 1.3 billion people — 17 per cent of the world’s entire population — Africa accounts for barely two per cent of the number of infections and even less than one per cent of the number of deaths.
We currently do not have enough evidence to answer your question.
What we can say is that African countries have a long experience in dealing with infectious diseases, like Ebola or Polio. This might, in fact, be the basis of the continent’s proactive response.
In Niger, even before the country registered its first case, the Government put in place a series of restrictions and social distancing measures including school and mosque closures, movement restrictions, curfew and nationwide state of emergency.
To support the government in the area of risk communication and community engagement, we, at UNICEF, have for example activated our existing polio eradication machinery, that includes thousands of town criers, social mobilizers, traditional and religious leaders, community media and youth across the country to raise awareness on Covid-19.