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UN Population Fund Sets Up Programme in Niger

UN Population Fund Sets Up Programme for Mothers in Drought-Stricken Niger

New York, Oct 31 2005 1:00PM

A new programme will help pregnant and nursing women in Niger, a drought-stricken, locust-ravaged West African country with one of the world’s highest maternal death rates, with food and anti-malarial supplies, as well as safe child delivery services, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says.

UNFPA said it has obtained foodstuffs, such as cereals, lentils and oil from the UN World Food Programme (WFP), iron and folic acid supplements from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Vitamin A from the non-governmental organization (NGO) Helen Keller International.

Each woman visiting a health centre for prenatal, delivery and postnatal care will receive 50 kilogrammes of cereals, 10 kilogrammes of lentils and 5 kilogrammes of oil, as well as a mosquito net to prevent malaria, which can cause severe anaemia in pregnant women and contribute to the low birth weight of their children.

Pregnant women and nursing mothers are among the groups considered most at risk from Niger’s food crisis, with more than 261,000 women in need of emergency care, UNFPA said late last week.

According to the UN Development Programme’s (<"http://www.undp.org/dpa/journalists/">UNDP) Human Development Report 2005, Niger’s women suffer a maternal mortality rate of 1,600 per 100,000 live births, compared to the country with the lowest rate in the world, Norway, with 16 per 100,000, and the country with the lowest rate in sub-Saharan Africa, Cape Verde, with 150 per 100,000 live births.

UNFPA said it has provided about $50,000 for the reproductive services initiative and helped raise more than $25,000 more from the NGO Rotary International.

ENDS

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