CHILDREN SUFFERING FROM SEVERE ACUTE MALNUTRITION ADMITTED
MOTHERS TRAINED TO SCREEN FOR MALNUTRITION
Northeastern Nigeria has been affected by violent conflict between
military forces and Boko Haram since 2009. An estimated 2.6
million people, including one million children, have been displaced
since the insurgency began. In 2016, as Nigerian security forces
began recapturing villages and towns in the area, the enormous
humanitarian needs of local populations who were previously
inaccessible, began to be revealed.
Most people arrive at the IDP camps with little more than a small sack of personal items. Because of the fighting, markets, trade and agriculture have been disrupted, and food can be hard to come by. Even when food is available, internally displaced people (IDPs) have few employment opportunities and no money to buy provisions. Families often live in makeshift tents. There are few latrines, a widespread lack of access to clean water, and hygiene conditions are poor. Fighting has destroyed the majority of health facilities and those that still function lack adequate supplies and staff.
Infant and maternal mortality rates have skyrocketed due to acute malnutrition , low vaccination coverage and a high prevalence of diarrheal diseases. According to WHO, the overall nutrition situation in Borno State is “very alarming.” A screening by ALIMA in June 2016 of 12,000 children in Monguno found 32% to be suffering from global acute malnutrition and 13% from severe acute malnutrition. The most common ailments among children are measles, diarrhea and respiratory infections.
Despite difficulties accessing the area due to unsafe roads and
poor telecommunications, ALIMA staff were among the first
international aid workers to set foot in the town of Monguno
(140km from Maiduguri). ALIMA has since helped encourage other
international NGOs to intervene in the area and is now working
together to provide the best possible care to the people in need.
As the last town before the frontline of insurgency fighting, around
80,000 people have fled to Monguno.
Following an needs assessment mission in June 2016 to assess the medical needs and vaccinate children against measles, ALIMA began providing medical and nutritional care at clinics in four of the largest camps in Monguno, as well as the Maternal Child Health Center. Mobile health clinics also provide outpatient care in the host communities.
In September, ALIMA opened a clinic near the numerous IDP camps in Muna (in the town of Maiduguri) to meet the medical needs of children under the age of five. In these two locations, nearly 8,000 children were treated for severe acute malnutrition, more than 3,000 for malaria and more than 27,000 children were vaccinated against measles.
ALIMA projects in Nigeria are funded by OFDA, ECHO, the French government and UNICEF.