Niger (MNN) — Niger is not only one of the five poorest countries of the world, but it also has the highest birth rate. The combination of excessive births, which average at approximately 7.68 children per woman, mixed with the incredibly low income level is a lethal recipe for all kinds of disaster.
Unsurprisingly, Niger is home to thousands of children who suffer from curable disabilities that parents simply don't have the financial resources to mend through surgery. Even if parents could scrounge up the money, there are less than 10 orthopedic surgeons in the entire country to tend to these suffering children. Until now, no hospitals at all were available which offered advanced surgery.
"Niger is one of Africa's saddest stories," says CURE International's president and CEO Dr. Scott Harrison. "Her people have endured famine, flooding and government upheaval. But an untold story is the plight of the country's children with physical disabilities. For them, the famine, flooding and government upheaval are but tragic backdrops in an already hopeless life. But today, thanks to the generosity of others half a world away, our hospital changes everything for them."
This atmosphere is indeed all beginning to change with the introduction of CURE's new Orthopedic Children's Hospital in Niger's capital, Naimey. According to CURE, the new hospital is the first in the country to offer First World specialty surgery to children with curable orthopedic disabilities. The hospital, which officially opened Monday, will be able to perform over 2,000 surgeries every year. It will also serve as a training ground for Nigerian medical professionals in advanced orthopedic procedures, increasing the number of surgeons in Niger who are able to perform these types of surgeries.
The availability of a wonderful facility is one thing, but the cost is another. Many Nigerians still do not have the money to cover extensive surgeries. CURE has solved that dilemma, though, by performing surgeries on any child in need, regardless of their parents' ability to pay.
As CURE has given life back to children across the globe, they have never let up on sharing where true life really comes from. As skilled surgeons and nurses provide hope for families through healing, they also offer to pray with patients and share the Gospel.
Pray that this new hospital would start with a firm foundation rooted in Christ, that it might be a haven for physical healing and spiritual healing alike. Pray for families to be touched by the love of Christ that they see in surgeons, staff and the hospital's care in general. Pray that this medical innovation would be a step forward for the country of Niger as the work is done in Christ's name.
To learn more about CURE's eleventh hospital worldwide and sixth in Africa, click here.