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Cablegate: Medical Facilities in Niger in Critical Condition

VZCZCXYZ0002
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNM #1170 3541030
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 191030Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY NIAMEY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4768
INFO RUEHBP/AMEMBASSY BAMAKO 0477
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 0504
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1952
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE

UNCLAS NIAMEY 001170

DEPT FOR M/MED

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AMGT AMED CASC EAID NG
SUBJECT: MEDICAL FACILITIES IN NIGER IN CRITICAL CONDITION

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The newly-arrived FSHP has completed her tour of
medical facilities in Niamey to assess availability of emergency
care. Aging equipment and lack of repair facilities in country have
resulted in extremely limited capabilities to support basic testing.
Immediate medical evacuation would be essential in any
life-threatening emergency. END SUMMARY

2. (SBU) The FSHP completed facility visits to the National and
Military Hospitals as well as Gamkalley Clinic, which is a private
not-for-profit facility in Niamey. The radiology capacities in all
three facilities are experiencing critical equipment failures. MRI
capacity in Niger is currently nonexistent. The country's sole CT
scanner at the National Hospital is nonfunctional at present and
there is no plan in place to undertake the necessary repairs. Two
of the three x-ray machines at the National Hospital are also out of
service. The hospital engineer voiced his concerns about the
reliability of the one operable x-ray machine. Equipment failure of
the sole functioning machine would leave this 700+ bed hospital
without any x-ray capabilities. According to the engineer, the
capacity of all radiological equipment at the National Hospital is
tenuous due to chronic power fluctuations, extreme heat, and dust
infiltration. The National Hospital is the referral center for
virtually all local private and public facilities in country.

3. (SBU) The Military Hospital has similar issues and is currently
deferring to the National Hospital for radiologic diagnostic
procedures. The staff radiologist indicated that maintenance and
repair problems have left the Military Hospital without ultrasound
capability and unreliable x-ray capabilities. Existing equipment at
the Military Hospital was donated by the U.S. military years ago.

4. (SBU) Niamey's premier private facility is Gamkalley Clinic. The
clinic has provided medical support to the diplomatic community
since its establishment in 1965. Prior to the assignment of an FSHP
to Niamey, the Embassy relied exclusively on Gamkalley Clinic for
medical support. The clinic continues to provide emergency back- up
for the Embassy. The facility includes a two-bed intensive care
unit with trained staff and limited radiology and ultrasound
capability. In 2007, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which
had historically provided financial support to the clinic, withdrew
its funding. Since that time, Gamkalley has struggled to maintain
services and remain solvent. The Medical Director recently
requested an appointment with the Embassy to discuss equipment needs
in an effort to identify new sources of support. The most pressing
need is replacement of an ultrasound machine; however, even the
clinic's X-ray equipment is more than 30 years old. Future
break-downs could leave the clinic unable to locate necessary
replacement parts or repair the equipment. Unable to provide
adequate services, the clinic's continued operation could be
endangered.

5. (SBU) Local radiologic equipment failures have grossly impacted
the health and safety of every citizen in country. The resident
expatriate community (diplomats, business persons, Peace Corps and
NGO personnel, etc.)has no reliable alternative sources of medical
support locally and would be dependent on immediate medical
evacuation in a life-threatening emergency.

ALLEN

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