In the attempt to improve health-care coverage in the Dosso region in the far south-west of Niger, a project is being implemented for building a medical and social centre to guarantee the well-being of women and children: a hospital for basic treatment, with maternity and paediatric wards and a nutrition centre; a training programme for midwives (one per village), paediatricians and nutritionists. It was the Italian Movimento per la Lotta contro la Fame nel Mondo, together with the Diocese of Lodi, the Italian Episcopal Conference, as well as the diocese and Niger’s Ministry for Public Health which activated the plan. The project primarily concerns mothers, who will be helped to give birth safely at the centre or at home, but in general it will involve all personnel who have anything to do with pregnancy and birth. The beneficiaries will be the 50,000 inhabitants of the periphery of Dossa and the approximately 40,000 inhabitants of the 56 villages located within 30 km of the dispensary, hence a total of about 90,000 inhabitants, 52 per cent of whom are women. Among the project’s main goals are the reduction of infant and maternal mortality rates which in Niger are among the highest in the world, the facilitation of access to treatment also for the most underprivileged classes, and, lastly, the prevention of infantile malnutrition.
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