people directly affected by the crisis in the north-east of the country
internally displaced people in Borno State
people in need of basic health services
Civilians are the main victims of armed conflicts in Nigeria
North-eastern Nigeria is in the throes of a major humanitarian crisis due to the armed conflict engulfing the region. The violence between Boko Haram and Nigerian government forces began in 2009 in the north-east of the country (Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States) before extending beyond the borders to neighbouring countries around Lake Chad. Since 2015, the Multinational Joint Task Force, comprising troops from Chad, Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Benin, has sought to protect the region’s main towns and cities and their populations but has not succeeded in putting an end to attacks against civilians, abductions and regular infiltration by armed groups into camps and villages. Since the beginning of the conflict in 2009, over 37,000 people have been killed in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States, thousands of women and girls have been abducted and hundreds of children have been used as ‘human bombs’.
There are 1.5 million displaced people in Borno State in north-eastern Nigeria.
The violence and attacks against civilians, in a context already characterised by significant vulnerability factors, have led to large-scale population displacements and a major humanitarian crisis. There are 1.5 million displaced people in Borno State in north-eastern Nigeria, 52% of them women and 65% children. The resources of the host communities are severely stretched. The displaced people, the majority of whom are living in overcrowded camps, have often lost their livelihoods and are suffering extreme poverty, with little hope of returning home in the near future. The conflict also has an impact on the scale and quality of the humanitarian response: the lack of security means there are 800,000 people whom humanitarian organisations are currently unable to reach and these people are therefore receiving no assistance at all.
A humanitarian crisis on an enormous scale in Borno State
The humanitarian situation in Borno State is alarming. It is currently estimated that six million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and two thirds of healthcare facilities have been damaged or destroyed. Access to primary healthcare for both displaced people and for the host communities is very limited, owing to a lack of qualified healthcare staff and poor availability of drugs and medical equipment.
The overcrowding, shortage of drinking water and poor hygiene conditions in the camps increase the risk of outbreaks of diseases such as cholera, measles and meningitis.
It is not only the physical health of communities in Nigeria that is affected by the humanitarian crisis, the conflict also has an impact on the mental wellbeing of people who have often experienced serious violence and trauma.
Our activities in Nigeria
Medical assistance for the nigerian people
Médecins du Monde has been working in north-eastern Nigeria since late 2016 with the aim of improving access to healthcare for vulnerable populations, both displaced people and host communities. Five clinics were established in the Maiduguri and Damboa camps to respond to the humanitarian crisis caused by the conflict.
Our teams provide free primary healthcare services, antenatal and postnatal consultations, routine vaccinations and nutritional care. They also offer medical and psychological support to survivors of gender-based violence, psychosocial support and individual mental health consultations and health education sessions.
MdM also supports two clinics run by the Nigerian Ministry of Health on the outskirts of Damboa in Borno State, a particularly dangerous area. This support takes the form of training and supplies of medications, enabling humanitarian assistance to be provided in an area to which few humanitarian actors have access.
Emergency healthcare programmes in Borno
In this context of humanitarian crisis, an emergency intervention team was formed to respond to new emergencies in Borno State, such as influxes of people or outbreaks of diseases like cholera. In early 2019, the team set up health services at the Teachers’ Village camp, providing primary healthcare, sexual and reproductive healthcare, care and treatment for survivors of gender-based violence and mental health services.
At the end of May 2019, after the arrival in Damboa of around 10,000 displaced people, MdM decided to open a clinic at the site to provide primary healthcare. In 2019, the emergency intervention team also kept its cholera treatment unit open so that it was ready to act in the event of an epidemic peak.
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