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MSF Expands Facilities To Care For More Malnourished Children In Northwest Nigeria

The group has earlier raised alarm about the disturbing increase in threats to infant health in the region, with malnutrition as the major cause.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), in collaboration with the State Ministry of Health in Katsina, Northwest Nigeria, has made more facilities available to accommodate malnourished children in the state.

The international humanitarian organisation disclosed this in a press release made available to HumAngle on Monday, Aug. 15.

The MSF says that it achieved the expansion through the establishment of an In-Patient Therapeutic Feeding Centre (ITFC) consisting of 80 beds as well as an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Dr Yusha’u Armaya’u Maternal and Paediatric Health Facility in Kofar Sauri. Another facility extension occurred at the Turai Umaru Yar’Adua Maternity and Children Hospital. 

The project was inaugurated by Katsina state governor, Aminu Bello Masari, and the MSF team during a ceremony held at the state capital on Monday.

The decision to expand the facilities according to MSF was informed by an “alarming rise in admissions of malnourished children in MSF facilities in Katsina since the start of the year.” 

It says that the influx of patients to existing facilities in June was so much that even when its team effected an increase of the capacity to contain 280 beds, it was still overwhelmed, necessitating the creation of outpatient centres.

“Between January and July, MSF teams in Katsina have admitted and treated over 5,000 children suffering from severe malnutrition with complications under its inpatient programme while about 50,000 children have so far been enrolled under the outpatient programme, with currently 20,000 more children in the cohort for follow up,” the statement read in part, explaining the disturbing increase of malnourished children.

Hassan Issa, MSF Emergency Coordinator in Katsina, said the organisation is working with the state government to ensure that the situation improves, emphasising that the team in the state is prepared “treat up to 100,000 malnourished children this year”.

Apart from other factors such as the reduction in farming activities and the operations of non-state actors leading to various forms of human rights abuses and displacement of communities, Issa said that the menacing peak of the lean season, as well as transmission of Malaria, “is further deteriorating the health and nutritional status with more severe cases admitted that need intensive medical care.”

“We have reached our maximum capacity, and the patients are still arriving in large numbers,” Issa added. 

He explained that though the MSF has supported malaria eradication by treating about 800 outpatients, donating drugs to IDPs, and conducting about 5oo consultations since July, much remains to be done. As a result, the group is seeking the contribution of other health humanitarian organisations towards the improvement of the situation in the state.

The MSF has before now raised alarm about the disturbing increase in threats to infant health in Northwest Nigeria, with malnutrition as the major cause. 

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Chigozie Victor

Chigozie Victor is a journalist and a creative writer. Her work focuses on SGBV, policy and security infrastructure. The graduate of English and Literature from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka is passionate about helping audiences understand salient issues through clear reporting and multimedia journalism. She tweets at @nwaanyi_manaria

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