49. niger.jpg

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Niger is a country with an approximate area of 1267 thousand sq. km. (UNO, 2001). Its population is 12.415 million, and the sex ratio (men per hundred women) is 102 (UNO, 2004). The proportion of population under the age of 15 years is 50% (UNO, 2004), and the proportion of population above the age of 60 years is 3% (WHO, 2004). The literacy rate is 25.1% for men and 9.3% for women (UNESCO/MoH, 2004).

The country is a low income group country (based on World Bank 2004 criteria). The proportion of health budget to GDP is 3.7%. The per capita total expenditure on health is 22 international $, and the per capita government expenditure on health is 9 international $ (WHO, 2004). The main language(s) used in the country is (are) French, Kanuri, Arabe, Gourmantche, Toubou and Boudouma. The largest ethnic group(s) is (are) Hausa, and the other ethnic group(s) are (is) Djerma, Fula and Tuareg. The largest religious group(s) is (are) Muslim (four-fifths), and the other religious group(s) are (is) Roman Catholic.

The life expectancy at birth is 42.6 years for males and 42.7 years for females (WHO, 2004). The healthy life expectancy at birth is 36 years for males and 35 years for females (WHO, 2004).


There is a paucity of epidemiological data on mental illnesses in Niger in internationally accessible literature.


Mental Health Policy A mental health policy is present. The policy was initially formulated in 1993. The components of the policy are promotion, prevention and treatment.

Substance Abuse Policy A substance abuse policy is present. The policy was initially formulated in 1997.

National Mental Health Programme A national mental health programme is present. The programme was formulated in 2001. A new mental health programme was adopted in 2001. A national action plan in mental health is being formulated, in which activities in primary health care and mental health would be included and this would be adopted soon.

National Therapeutic Drug Policy/Essential List of Drugs A national therapeutic drug policy/essential list of drugs is present. It was formulated in 1995.

Mental Health Legislation The current legislation on mental health is the decree which created psychiatric services in western French Africa. A process to formulate new mental health legislation is under way. A draft of this legislation was expected before December 2001. The latest legislation was enacted in 1928.

Mental Health Financing There are no budget allocations for mental health. Details about expenditure on mental health are not available. The primary sources of mental health financing in descending order are tax based, out of pocket expenditure by the patient or family, social insurance and private insurances. The country does not have disability benefits for persons with mental disorders.

Mental Health Facilities Mental health is not a part of primary health care system. Actual treatment of severe mental disorders is not available at the primary level. Regular training of primary care professionals is not carried out in the field of mental health. There are community care facilities for patients with mental disorders. Traditional medicine is the only form of community treatment.

Psychiatric Beds and Professionals

  • Total psychiatric beds per 10 000 population
  • Psychiatric beds in mental hospitals per 10 000 population
  • Psychiatric beds in general hospitals per 10 000 population
  • Psychiatric beds in other settings per 10 000 population
  • Number of psychiatrists per 100 000 population
  • Number of neurosurgeons per 100 000 population
  • Number of psychiatric nurses per 100 000 population
  • Number of neurologists per 100 000 population
  • Number of psychologists per 100 000 population
  • Number of social workers per 100 000 population
  • 0.2
  • 0
  • 0.2
  • 0
  • 0.04
  • 0.01
  • 0.04
  • 0.01
  • 0.03
  • 0.05

Non-Governmental Organizations NGOs are involved with mental health in the country. They are mainly involved in advocacy, promotion, prevention and rehabilitation.

Information Gathering System There is mental health reporting system in the country. Mental disorders are included in ‘other disorders’ category. The country has no data collection system or epidemiological study on mental health.

Programmes for Special Population There are no special mental health programmes for any specific population.

Therapeutic Drugs The following therapeutic drugs are generally available at the primary health care level of the country: phenobarbital, chlorpromazine, diazepam, haloperidol.

Source: World Health Organization Mental Health Atlas