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Responding to nutritional crises in Niger: research in action in the region of Maradi

  • 2016/01/01
Type of publication
  • Articles
Authors
  • Grais RF
Themes
  • Nutrition

Abstract

Despite developments to address childhood malnutrition and its determinants, eradicating childhood malnutrition remains evasive. From a public health perspective, malnutrition constitutes the single biggest contributor to under-five mortality. With a total population of about 17 million and 70% living on less than US$ 1 per day, Niger routinely ranks at the bottom of development indices. Household food production is linked to rain-fed agriculture, where staple crops such as millet and sorghum are harvested once per year. Each year, the decrease in food quantity and quality in the months preceding the harvest (August to October) is associated with an increase in wasting among children, known as the “hunger gap.”  Maradi, located in the south-central part of the country has some of the highest rates of malnutrition in the country. This was particularly dramatic in 2005, when millet prices reached levels inaccessible to large segments of the population. Subsequent to the crisis in 2005, two major developments occurred in response to nutritional crises: a change in the definition of malnutrition and uptake of new prevention options. This paper discusses some of the barriers and innovations with respect to these two changes via a series of studies conducted in the region.