Niger is the largest country in West Africa and has a population of 24 million people.
In 2019, the UN Human Development Index ranked it 189th - the least developed country in the world. 49 per cent of people in Niger live in extreme poverty on less than US$1.90 per day.
Niger has the highest fertility rate of any country in the world, averaging 7.6 children per woman in 2016. Meanwhile more than 50 percent of children under five years old are chronically undernourished.
Gender inequality, including a lack of educational opportunities for women and early marriage and childbirth, contributes to high population growth.
80 percent of the country is desert and is seriously affected by drought. Many people in Niger are dependent on subsistence farming, meaning that drought and the shrinking of land suitable for farming cause food shortages.
In 2020, there were 277 new cases of leprosy diagnosed*. Eight of these new cases were children.
There are 0.1 doctors per 1,000 people compared to 2.8 per 1,000 in the UK.
Our work in Niger includes healthcare, livelihood support and advocacy.
*The number of new cases of leprosy diagnosed worldwide in 2020 - 127,396 - was severely impacted by Covid-19 (there were 202,488 new cases diagnosed in 2019)
Niger experiences severe food shortages and high rates of infectious disease, which have resulted in some of the highest rates of malnutrition and mortality in the world. When combined with very little healthcare provision, this makes life extremely hard for people affected by leprosy.
We work with The Leprosy Mission Niger and local disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) to improve healthcare, training staff in leprosy, disease control and management and disability prevention.
We have also supported people affected by leprosy to recognise the signs of the disease in others, look after their wounds and support each other in their journeys towards cure and healing. We also support Danja Hospital in Maradi, the only hospital outside the capital, Niamey, that provides treatment to people affected by the complications of leprosy.
Improving quality of life
We support The Leprosy Mission Niger in providing livelihood and income opportunities for people affected by leprosy and their families. This includes training in sewing, carpentry, bike mechanics, and small business training. We also support community and women’s savings groups which help people affected by leprosy to meet their own needs in a sustainable way.
We work with IDEA, an association of people affected by leprosy, to provide training in advocacy, empowerment and creating community awareness. IDEA also builds partnership with church leaders and disabled people’s organisations.