Thousands of Measles Vaccinations Open Doors for the Gospel in Niger

November 18, 2019 • Niger
Medical teams provide measles vaccinations for people in remote areas of Niger.
Medical teams provide measles vaccinations for people in remote areas of Niger.

Since July, Samaritan’s Purse has provided more than 57,000 life-saving measles vaccinations to underserved areas of Niger and continues to present the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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As Samaritan’s Purse mobile medical teams provide tens of thousands of measles vaccinations west of Niger’s capital Niamey, our Gospel ministry is growing as well. Since July our mobile medical clinics have provided more than 57,000 measles vaccinations and this has opened up opportunities for our evangelists to pray for residents and their families.

Measles has been a life-threatening illness that's impacted many remote villages throughout rural Niger.

Measles has been a life-threatening illness that’s impacted many remote villages throughout rural Niger.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory condition that produces a rash, high fever, and flu-like symptoms. It can cause severe respiratory distress among very young children and the already infirm. People in impoverished and remote areas are especially susceptible to this potentially life-threatening illness.

“This population has so many people who do not have easy access to care and most of this population lives a long distance from medical facilities,” said Grace Nganga, health and nutrition program manager for Samaritan’s Purse in Niger. “By going to them, the mobile clinic is saving so many lives.”

Our initial response in Niger’s Tahoua Region was to address outbreaks of measles, and our work has continued in the districts of Bouza and Malbaza.

“By providing these vaccinations we are able to work in areas where Samaritan’s Purse did not previously have access,” said Nganga. “Historically measles has been a major cause of childhood death and disability in Niger.”

She said 80 percent of those severe cases involved children under age 5—a particularly vulnerable age range for the disease.

Several hundred of our patients have also received an additional preventative vitamin A treatment. Teams are working tirelessly to help prevent future outbreaks. Ensuring that at least 90 percent of the district is immunized should stave off this threat.

Expanding Capacity

We are also helping expand the medical capacity—in terms of equipment, supplies, and trained personnel—of local medical services in remote areas of Niger.

Our mobile medical teams have provided vaccinations and other medical care to remote areas, saving countless lives while sharing the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Our mobile medical teams have provided vaccinations and other medical care to remote areas, saving countless lives while sharing the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We’ve sent teams to operate mobile clinics in remote areas, and through these clinics we’ve made vaccinations and other care available in locations far from any other health centers.

“When Samaritan’s Purse knocked at our door, we had no one. The situation was overwhelming,” said Oumarou, a local doctor who says his staff was weary from trying to keep up with meeting medical needs. “Now through mobile clinics provided by Samaritan’s Purse we are able to reach populations that are far from health centers, and we are able to build the capacity of our health staff through trainings that Samaritan’s Purse is funding.”

Medical teams take the opportunity to pray with each patient and recount the story of the Good Samaritan from Luke 10:25-37. And through trained evangelists assigned to our medical teams, providing measles vaccinations also provides opportunities to tell communities about the Great Physician, Jesus Christ.

This article was originally published on July 26, 2019. It has been revised and updated to reflect the program’s progress.

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Samaritan's Purse responds to medical emergencies in a variety of ways—through an emergency field hospital, a riverboat clinic serving remote Amazon villages in Bolivia, and the only hospital in a war-scarred state in South Sudan. Your gift will help bring expert treatment and the hope of the Gospel to victims of disaster or war.
Emergency Medical Care Samaritan's Purse responds to medical emergencies in a variety of ways—through an emergency field hospital, a riverboat clinic serving remote Amazon villages in Bolivia, and the only hospital in a war-scarred state in South Sudan. Your gift will help bring expert treatment and the hope of the Gospel to victims of disaster or war.

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