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Why are we there?

  • Endemic/epidemic disease
  • Healthcare exclusion

Our Work


  • The security situation deteriorated in many areas of Nigeria in 2014. Violence and displacement took their toll on people’s health and reduced their access to medical services.
  • Médecins Sans Frontières continued to try and provide healthcare to communities in need, but some clinics experienced temporary closures due to insecurity.


Healthcare for the displaced

  • Up to 400,000 internally displaced people settled in and around Maiduguri, the capital city of Borno state, with host families or in camps that were set up in July.
  • In August, Médecins Sans Frontières began providing care to displaced people in two of the largest camps. Weekly mobile clinics screened for malnutrition and offered antenatal care to pregnant women.
  • A health surveillance system was also established to respond to disease outbreaks and launch vaccination campaigns, if necessary. 
  • There was a cholera outbreak at the end of September and in the space of a month 4,500 cases and 70 deaths from cholera were reported in Maiduguri. Médecins Sans Frontières set up a cholera treatment centre with 120 beds and five posts for oral rehydration.
  • By December, Médecins Sans Frontières had supported the care of 6,833 patients, 40 per cent of whom were displaced people living in camps.


Focus on obstetrics

  • At Jahun hospital, Jigawa state, where maternal mortality rates have been among the highest in the country, Médecins Sans Frontières continued to support the emergency obstetrics programme.
  • Jahun hospital also treats fistula, with Médecins Sans Frontières support. Médecins Sans Frontières offers reparative surgery, as well as psychosocial support, helping women to reintegrate into their communities. 


Paediatric care

  • From the Noma children’s hospital in Sokoto, Médecins Sans Frontières provided care to children suffering from noma, a rapid-onset gangrene infection that causes facial disfigurement.
  • Nutritional and psychological support was offered and corrective surgery is planned for 2015.
  • Teams also continued to treat children with lead poisoning in eight villages in Zamfara state.
  • As patient numbers decreased over the year, Médecins Sans Frontières closed three outreach clinics but continued to lobby the Nigerian government to assist local villagers. Staff also screened children for measles, meningitis, yellow fever and malaria.


Responding to disease outbreaks

  • The Médecins Sans Frontières-run Nigeria Emergency Response Unit (NERU) provides early warning and rapid response to seasonal outbreaks of infectious diseases in the northwestern states of Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto and Niger.
  • From June to December, NERU treated over 6,000 people for cholera in Goronyo (Sokoto state), Aliero (Kebbi state), and Mada, Anka and Shagari (Zamfara state). 


Ebola containment

  • Médecins Sans Frontières provided Ebola-related technical support to health authorities in Lagos and Port Harcourt from July to October, assisting with isolation and contact tracing, and providing training and public education.
  • There were 20 confirmed cases in Lagos and Port Harcourt and eight patients died. The outbreak in Nigeria was declared over by 20 October. 


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Médecins Sans Frontières has been working in the country since 1996 and at the end of 2014, Médecins Sans Frontières had 508 staff in Nigeria.