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MSF Opens New Centre For Malnourished Children In Maiduguri

Medicins Sans Frontieres has launched an upgraded health centre to treat children who suffer from severe malnutrition and other medical complications in Northeast Nigeria.

Médecins Sans Frontìères (MSF)/Doctors Without Borders, an international NGO, has opened an upgraded version of MSF’s previous malnutrition centre at Fori primary centre. The new health centre Nilefa Keji (which means ‘health is wealth’) in south Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria’s Borno state, is to treat children with complications from malnutrition.

From January to June 2021, MSF staff at Fori nutrition centre treated 1,110 children for severe acute malnutrition as inpatients and provided outpatient care to 1,122 children with moderate acute malnutrition. 

“The move from Fori to Nilefa Keji became necessary because we were seeing (increasing) numbers of malnourished children in our facility. Fori nutrition centre had limited space for expansion, and we needed to accommodate more people,” says Mohammed Dikko Abdullahi, MSF assistant project coordinator.

Inside View from the Centre: Photo Credit: MSF

The new 120-bed health centre facility in Maiduguri’s Kusheri neighbourhood has four emergency beds, 14 intensive care beds, and two beds for children with kwashiorkor, a severe form of malnutrition (which causes the legs and body to swell). 

MSF teams will provide inpatient treatment for children with severe acute malnutrition and moderate acute malnutrition accompanied by medical complications. The new centre also has an outpatient therapeutic feeding centre with space to accommodate more than 150 children and parents each day. 

“The medical team has seen increasing numbers of patients with malnutrition over the past couple of months and, looking at the trends at our hospital and recent reports on food security, we expect an increased number of patients in the coming months,” says Rodel Lambatin, MSF project medical advisor. 

To oversee the running and medical activities at the new centre, MSF has recruited and trained additional Nigerian nurses, doctors, nutrition assistants, and counsellors. 

The new centre at Nilefa Keji was completed over five months and improved infection prevention and control measures. It also has a rainwater channel designed to prevent flooding and avoid the accumulation of standing water, attracting insects and presenting a health risk.

“With the new site, we have more land for any needed extensions, and we have more room for staff; we will be able to handle more patients, especially during the malnutrition season,” says Jordan Gartner, MSF construction manager.

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