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What In The World
What in the World? RTÉ One, Thursday, 11.05pm

Programme 4

"Noma in Niger" - Niger

Peadar King studies the facial eating tissue disease called Noma, which is rampant in Sub-Sahara Africa and was last seen in Europe in the Nazi concentration camps.

Although found in isolated pockets throughout the world, those who study the spread of disease have identified Sub-Sahara Africa as the area worst affected by Noma. Stretching from Senegal in the West, through Burkina Faso, Niger, Ethiopia and into Egypt, this Noma belt leaves a deadly trail of destruction.

Also known as grazer's disease because of the way it eats facial tissue - it affects children between the ages of two and six and it was last seen in Europe in the Nazi concentration camps. The pain from Noma is excruciating as it consumes the side of the face.

While nobody really knows for sure an estimated 90% of those who contract the disease die from it. Good nutrition and a simple antibiotic could protect children from it. For the very few who survive reconstructive surgery can give them some chance of survival.

Hali Bako and Peadar King
Hali Bako and Peadar King
Child with Noma disease
Child with Noma disease