Malnutrition crisis hits N/West - MSF - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Friday, July 14, 2023

Malnutrition crisis hits N/West - MSF

The malnutrition crisis in Northwest Nigeria is worsening, and Médecins Sans Frontières, better known as Doctors Without Borders (MSF), has warned that the current humanitarian response falls short, risking a catastrophic outcome in the near future.

Furthermore, the organization expressed concerns about a vicious cycle of malnutrition, where recovered children often require readmission due to insufficient food at home. 

In a statement, MSF's medical coordinator, Htet Aung Kyi, emphasized, "The increasing number of malnourished children in our facilities is a clear sign that as the lean season progresses, we will receive even more cases." 

The 'lean season', occurring between May and August when food stocks dwindle, has recently commenced. However, MSF treatment centers are already operating at full capacity. 

The gravity of the situation is reflected in the admission rates, which have increased by 26% compared to the same period in 2022, a year already marked by unprecedentedly high numbers.

In a bid to combat the crisis, the statement, said MSF initiated three new outpatient therapeutic feeding centres, augmenting their existing 10 inpatient centres and 32 outpatient centres spread across Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, and Zamfara states.

It added, "Northwest Nigeria, burdened with some of the nation's worst health indicators, is witnessing an alarming malnutrition situation spiralling into a full-blown crisis, exacerbated by escalating violence levels. 

"Armed groups' frequent raids and kidnappings have forced many residents to seek safer grounds, leaving their farms and workplaces inaccessible due to growing insecurity. 

"The risks of travelling unsafe roads pose additional challenges for those in need of medical care to reach health centres and hospitals.

"Despite the intensifying crisis, northwest Nigeria is overlooked, lacking the support required for a lifesaving response. 

"This response needs to incorporate preventive measures, such as food distributions, improvements to food security, early detection of malnutrition cases, and timely treatment."

MSF called on all aid organizations operating in the country to scale up their humanitarian response.

Additionally, they appealed to the Federal Government and local health authorities to take immediate action and prevent a catastrophic loss of life in the months ahead.

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