Niger has launched a massive health campaign aimed at tackling endemic tropical diseases in areas where access to drinking water and health services is poor, the health ministry told AFP Wednesday.
The government's month-long mass-treatment campaign is set to reach some 8.5 million people, and cost around 26.6 billion CFA (40.55 million euros).
Approximately 20,000 health workers have been mobilised to help distribute medication as part of this campaign, supported by the World Health Organisation and other foreign partners.
The campaign, officially launched on Monday, will distribute free medication or treatment against widespread but neglected tropical diseases including trachoma, intestinal worms, lymphatic filariasis ('elephantitis'), bilharzia and onchocerciasis.
These diseases generally breed in stagnant pools of water off the Niger river. Internationally-funded projects of late have aimed at getting safe drinking water to people by drilling springs.
The initiative will extend to the affected regions of Dosso (south), Tillabery and Tahoua (west), Maradi (south central), according to the Niger government.