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Nigeria’s conflict leave many in need of aid

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By Timothy Akintola

DotW lends their support to 8 health clinics across northern Nigeria.

Nigeria is reportedly experiencing its worst humanitarian crises in a long while. This unending conflict which has lasted over a decade have left dire consequences on the lives and wellbeing of most citizens in the country. Statistically, over 8.4 million people have been described as needing immediate humanitarian assistance as a result of the recurrent crisis that has claimed about 27,000 lives and displaced at least 2.2 million people, mostly women and children. Similar to the numerous conflicts experienced, women and children have been the major collateral damages. Since the commencement of this conflict in 2009, thousands have been reportedly abducted and many more, victims of gender-based violence such as sexual violence, assault and trafficking. Families battling poverty have resorted to child marriage and labour, with children being forced into armed groups or carrying explosives.

Asides this violence-induced crisis, Nigeria has also been exacerbated by heavy rainfall and flooding, causing over 4.1 million people to be victims of hunger and malnutrition due to the immense food crisis. In fact, OCHA predicts that over 1.74 million children under 5 years old would likely suffer from acute malnutrition and about 300,000 people facing severe malnutrition and a high death risk, if they do not receive medical care urgently. The situation in Nigeria has been so crucial, with most citizens trapped within cases of conflict, poverty, food crisis and climate change. States like Borno have in fact become the epicenter of these violent attacks. In these violence-ravaged regions, citizens and aid groups are consistently attacked, making the process of humanitarian assistance cumbersome.

Mental health and psychosocial support enacted to help victims of trauma.

Reports suggest that Doctors Of The World (DotW) has been lending their supports to 8 different health clinics across Northern Nigeria, providing free primary healthcare services to about 265,751 recipients, 50 percent of who are internally displaced. The DotW Medical and Supervisory team have focused their efforts on the provision of consultations, clinic repairs and building capacity via providing various equipment and training. The DotW team has a total of 75 healthcare members, including 30 community mobilizers presently. One of the team’s primary goal was shaped to enforce the surveillance of communicable diseases by enacting the implementation of early warning and alert response to these outbreaks. DotW in 2021, reported about 27,556 cases of Malaria, 16,488 diarrhea cases and 20,000 cases of acute respiratory infections. With the provision of lifesaving services, zero mortality rate was recorded across the team’s clinics.

DotW in its humanitarian program in Nigeria, also enacted the implementation of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support to help victims of stress and trauma in the crisis. The MHPSS was saddled with providing mental health consultations for victims of less severe cases of mental health issues. In all, 52,111 people were said to have taken part in the MHPSS service, from both the host and IDP communities. Victims of severe mental, neurological and substance used conditions also benefitted heavily from the mental health consultations by psychiatric clinicians who had been trained on the Mental Health Global Action Programming, until their symptoms were treated in line with WHO’s recommendation.

Violence and poverty hinders women from access to sexual healthcare.

Reports suggest that the constant violence and poverty that has ravaged states like Borno have contributively hindered women’s access to sexual and reproductive healthcare. DotW in response, created numerous sexual and reproductive healthcare programs to cater for the pregnant and lactating women, as well as collaborating with midwives and community mobilizers to ensure that these programs were heard. Upon the help of local partners who further emphasized the necessity of Antenatal care and follow-up consultations, the team’s clinics witnessed a significant increase in mothers’ attendance. 14,976 consultations were provided between 2020 and 2021, as well as the distribution of kits for the mothers and their post-natal care consultancies. Also, educational workshops were provided to raise awareness on birth preparedness and the dangers of home delivery.

In states where conflict is concentrated, rape and violence against women have been used by insurgent groups, especially the Boko Haram. Female vulnerability is exploited and they become victims of abduction, coerced marriage, and captivity. A lot of women deal with these physical and psychological traumas with little or no access to healthcare services. DotW has however provided a two tier approach to gender based violence— the provision of healthcare and the development of community projects to prevent these cases in the future. DotW was able to provide medical assistance for 872 GBV survivors, whilst also enhancing consultation rooms for more privacy and comfort for the victims. By the implementation of different awareness and protection schemes, the team was able to work with community members to further ensure a prevention of future GBV cases.

DotW improves access of malnourished children to quality nutrition.

The access of malnourished children to quality nutrition and treatment was another major feat accomplished by the DotW. Upon screening 33,265 children for malnutrition, 1152 were enrolled for a 6-week treatment program from Severe Acute Malnutrition, where they received all necessary medical assistance. Also, DotW got to collaborate with stakeholders, as well as engaging with community members via meetings and focus group discussions, in a bid to lessen the risk of child malnutrition. The program was reported to have successfully passed the message across to over 32,000 people, both at the host community and IDP communities.

Related Link

Crisis Group: Website

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