Health indicators for people living in northern Nigeria remain poor and there are frequent outbreaks of measles, meningitis and cholera. An upsurge in violence in 2013 added to the difficulty of obtaining adequate healthcare. Threats posed by Ansaru and Boko Haram are affecting security for Nigerians as well as aid organisations.
Lead poisoning in Zamfara
The rising price of gold has led to renewed interest in mining in Zamfara state, where unsafe practices have resulted in a number of villages being contaminated with lead. Médecins Sans Frontières teams screened more than 1,570 children in 2013 and provided some 10,800 basic health consultations for children under five. Since the beginning of the project, 4,804 children have been screened and 4,306 treated. Médecins Sans Frontières continues to lobby at federal government level to remediate the remaining villages and treat the children affected by lead poisoning who live there.
Providing maternity care and fistula surgery
Pregnant women in Jigawa state have limited access to maternity services, and deaths due to pregnancy and childbirth are high. Médecins Sans Frontières’ programme in Jahun hospital cares for women with obstetric emergencies and offers surgical repair of fistulas. More than 8,390 women were admitted to the obstetrics unit and 370 women underwent surgery for fistulas. A maternal and child health programme continued in Goronyo, Sokoto state, where many people suffer from malaria. The project closed in June due to insecurity.
Emergency care in Borno
The ongoing violence in the northeast caused population displacement to other states, including Abuja, and people also fled to countries such as Niger and Cameroon. Médecins Sans Frontièresprovided medical care to 3,750 people in Baga and Chibok. The team ended the intervention, which lasted for 10 weeks, in October because of insecurity.
Measles and cholera
A measles outbreak spread through Katsina state in January and Médecins Sans Frontières donated medicine to 300 public health clinics, thus providing treatment for 14,290 people. More than 217,490 children were vaccinated against measles in Bakori, Sabuwa, Funtua, Dandume and Faskari.
Between March and July a team responded to a measles outbreak in Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara states, treating 47,585 people and donating 3,600 treatment kits. Over 2,000 people received cholera treatment in Rini and Gusau between September and the end of December.
Médecins Sans Frontières first worked in the country in: 1971
No. staff: 649
This text is an excerpt from the 2013 International Activity Report, published annually looking at our work in the previous year. The full report is available here.
The cholera outbreak which began in January in Bauchi State, north-eastern Nigeria, is now over. More than 15,500 cases were reported and about 14,000 of those were treated by Médecins Sans Frontières teams in Bauchi.
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