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Press release: New stage for the AIRE project

Integration of pulse oximeters in training tools in Niger

31 March 2021 |  Press Release



To provide access to innovative diagnostic tools to improve the identification of respiratory distress in children under 5 years of age.


Niamey, Niger. From 18 to 20 March, Solthis, in partnership with the Directorate of Mother and Child Health, is organising a workshop to revise the training and health reference tools for the management of childhood illnesses in Niger (clinical IMCI) in order to integrate the use of pulse oximeters. This activity is part of the AIRE project “Improving Identification of Respiratory Distress in Children” implemented in Niger with financial support from UNITAID and additional support from the French Development Agency (AFD).

A new strategy to improve care and reduce child mortality. Despite a significant decrease in the infant and child mortality rate over the last decades in Niger, from 318% in 1992 to 126% in 2015, the health situation remains worrying, marked by still high infant mortality (126‰). Current child care programmes (IMCI) are not fully producing the expected effects and new strategies are needed to improve the identification of the most deadly diseases in newborns and children under 5 years of age (malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea, malnutrition) and to avoid late referrals to care.


This revision of the health training and reference tools is essential for implementing the use of pulse oximeters during consultations of children under 5 years of age in the health districts of Dosso and Niamey 4, intervention sites of the AIRE project.


An innovative diagnostic tool, the pulse oximeter. Pulse oximeters, recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO), are widely used in hospitals and have demonstrated their effectiveness, but their use has not yet been extended to Integrated Health Centres (IHCs), which are the first level of the health pyramid to receive children and ensure their referral if necessary. The integration of pulse oximeters at the IHC level will therefore improve the diagnosis of children who present at a consultation with cough or breathing difficulties and the likelihood of referring them to a hospital for management before it is too late. Improved diagnosis and effective referral should help reduce under-five mortality.


C Press contact: Mactar NIOME, AIRE Project Coordinator

E-mail :  – Tel : 89 66 61 24

U A regional project: financed by UNITAID and supported in Niger by the French Development Agency, the AIRE project is implemented in four countries (Mali, Niger, Guinea and Burkina Faso) by a consortium composed of ALIMA (lead partner), Solthis, Terre des Hommes and Inserm. Solthis is responsible for the implementation of the project in Niger in collaboration with the NGO Bien Être de la Femme et de l’Enfant (BEFEN) which will be in charge of part of the community component, and under the aegis of the Ministry of Public Health, notably the Directorate of Mother and Child Health (DSME) and the Division of New Child Health (DSNI).




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