Maiduguri, 30 October, 2020 - Since declaration of an internal grade 3 level emergency in the north-east Nigeria in 2016, WHO has been leading partners in the humanitarian health sector response to provide complementary lifesaving interventions to the affected populations in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states. Every year, the response programme is reviewed to ensure its continued relevance and to sharpen strategies.
Mallam Mustapha, a 48-year old beneficiary of WHO emergency repose programme in north-east Nigeria affirms that humanitarian responders in north-east Nigeria have been the backbone of existence of populations affected by the insurgency in the region.
"Last month, my wife delivered bouncing twins in the makeshift clinic here in Shuari at zero cost to my family. Last week, my son received treatment for malaria, again at zero cost to my family. Just yesterday, I received treatment for watery diarrhea. Again at no cost. I can only imagine how much it would cost to obtain these healthcare services. I cannot ask for more."
With a view to increasing access to essential healthcare and nutrition services for the populations affected by the decade of crisis in northeast Nigeria, WHO in collaboration with other humanitarian partners, the Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states ministries of health conducted a 9th review of the humanitarian health response in north-east Nigeria.
The three-day exercise reviewed WHO's work in the 3 states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY states) in the last one year as it complements other sectors like WASH, nutrition and shelter in order to develop the north-east Nigeria Response Plan 2021 and strategies for resilience building.
In his remarks, WHO Nigeria Representative, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo stated that the objective of the review was to share lessons learnt in the last one year, adopt best practices and re-strategize to improve service delivery to populations affected by the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Hence, "there is an urgent need to shift towards a resilient response in a protracted crisis as is in north-east Nigeria, focusing on the key health system strengthening priorities in order to maximize WHO's contribution to the national and state efforts."
Borno state Honourable Health Commissioner, Dr. Salihu Kwayabura revealed that the health sector has been the worst hit by the eleven-year-old insurgency in northeast Nigeria. "From the inception of the insurgency, over 300 PHC facilities have been destroyed completely at the time when the government has refocused on revitalizing primary healthcare delivery across the states and over 50% of the secondary health facilities destroyed with healthcare workers attacked, all which have worsened the health indices in an environment that was hitherto grappling with very high infant and maternal mortality rate, low under-five survivor, malnutrition, communicable diseases, chronic ailments and a host of others."
The review was attended by WHO emergency experts from the headquarters, WHO African regional office, WHO Nigeria and health emergency experts in north-east Nigeria, officials of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, the Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, humanitarian donors including EU, GIZ, Department for Commonwealth Office formerly DFID, JICA and Dangote Foundation and other implementing partners (FHI 360 and Terres Des Hommes (TDH).
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