90 per cent of children treated for cholera in North Eatern Nigeria are from camps: MSF Coordinator Dr Félix Kouassi
By Mohammad Ibrahim
Oct 15, Abuja: Nigeria is committed to sustaining the current average annual Federal Expenditure of USD $10 million on nutrition specific interventions; establish a distinct budget line for nutrition within the budget in the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, to use of mobile technology to reach mothers and children, empower the health workers and strengthen the system; and then strengthen regulation and enforcement to ensure compliance for example with fortification standards, working across agencies.
In an effort to find out about the primary health care in the country and more specifically north eastern region of the country, The Oslo Times International Correspondent, Mohammad Ibrahim to Dr Félix Kouassi, Doctors Without Borders / Medicines San Frontieres Medical Coordinator in Nigeria,about their activities in Borno State and its environs including the health challenges facing the Internally Displaced Persons Displaced by Boko Haram crisis in the region.
Oslo: How long has MSF been in North-eastern Nigeria ?
Dr Felix-- Our organisation has been in Nigeria for a very long time you know. But in Borno State I will say since the beginning of the insecurity issue and we are here to support the ministry of health to care of the internally Displaced persons who are in a deplorable condition.
Oslo: What is the IDPs health condition now in the region?
Let me start with the medical humanitarian situation which is mainly marked by an increase malaria cases especially among children and as you know we also have a persistent cholera epidemic.
Oslo: We understand thousands of children have died of starvation and diseases in the region in year 2016 . We would like to know the condition of some of the children in camps particularly in camps within your reach.
What I will like to talk about is the latest activities in Maiduguri. In maiduguri Doctors Without Boarders is running periodic activities that include management of acute malnutrition . We currently have about 150 hospital beds in Maiduguri.
For example from January to August 20,000 children were treated and 4,000 of whom were hospitalised.
We also have some structures for management of childhood diseases. In September about 1,700 children where hospitalised in our pediatric hospital with about 155 hospital beds which means that some weeks we have beds occupancy rates between 130 and 150 persons.
Another medical activity we have in maduguri is our concerned for pregnant women, in September we looked after about 3,600 pregnant women and made about 500 delivery.
Oslo: Apart from in the Northeast do Doctors Without Borders work in other parts of the region?
Yes, apart from Maiduguri town, we work in Mongono, Banki, Damasak, Kwange and in most of the areas concerned about this situation.
Oslo: Do you work in states like Adamawa and Yobe who also have security concerns?
Yes but our activities is more in Borno State.
Oslo: MSF expressed concerned over the under 5 mortality rates in IDPs camps in Maiduguri. What is the current situation?
The situation in the camp especially in our pediatric hospital is increase in Malaria cases. For example in 2016 we used to have 45 children admitted per week. But in 2017 we have 120 cases of malaria per week. It means that we have very increased cases of malaria in our facility.
Oslo:What are the major ailments affecting children and women in the camps within the North-eastern region?
Apart from Malaria cases we also have cholera epidemic in Borno and most of the patients we treated for cholera in our facility are from the camps.
Almost 90 percent of the cholera patients we received are from the camps.
Oslo: We understand there are areas that MSF can't reach. What were the concerns?
The issue is how to reach such areas where vulnerable people need help. But this is due to security reasons and I think we are doing all we can to reach all the people that need our help but we need to take into account the security situation.
Oslo: What are your major challenges in Northeast since you began operation in the region?
The challenges in Maiduguri is the increase of IDPs in deplorable condition who are at the risk of diseases like diahrea , Cholera, Malaria, lack of clean water and food.
Also the persistent of cholera and improvement of hygiene and sanitation condition of these IDPs population must be improved otherwise we can't stop these diseases like cholera and diarhea they will continue.
Oslo: What role is MSF playing to ensure that IDPs have access to medical care.
I think we have three or four facilities where every vulnerable people can come and have a quality health care and we will do everything possible to treat those who need our medical care.
Oslo: MSF is an organisation that delivers emergency aid. In your opinion, do you think the medical humanitarian situation of IDPs is beyond the emergency setup?
I think it depends on the beginning of the issue but now I think the population in the camps need emergency care . For example in our pediatric facility in kwange we have 125 beds some weeks.
In some weeks we have more patients than beds. Last week we have 180 children for 150 beds. It means that the situation is important in Maiduguri, especially in Kwange.
In Mangono too in September we don't have beds for adults but because of the cases of malaria we have to take care of adults and we received almost 50 adults with serious malaria.
There was no action involve in adults hospitalisation in Mangono , but MSF is trying to set up a facility for treatment of malaria for adults in this area.
Oslo: What will be your last words here?
What I will like to add is that MSF is only here to support ministry of Health to take care of all vulnerable population especially during this Malaria peak and during this cholera epidemic.
The Oslo Times International News Network