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MSF Raises Alarm Over Increase In Measles Cases in Maiduguri

Over 1000 cases of measles have been reported in Maiduguri between January and April, raising concerns over health safety.

Several people have been reported to have measles in the capital city of Borno state, Maiduguri, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) also known as Doctors Without Borders, have said.

According to the organisation in its statement on Friday, the first case was recorded in Gwange Paediatric Hospital in December 2020.

More cases have continued to be recorded since then, both within and outside the capital, David Therond, MSF’s Head of Mission stated.

“A vaccination campaign is required to see the number of cases decrease,” he added. 

A total of 1158 children infected with the disease have been admitted at the Gwange hospital between Jan. 1 and April 3.

“Of those, 58% have come from Zabarmari, a small town located about 20 km from Maiduguri,” MSF said.

In response to the outbreak, the organisation has increased the number of beds in the health facilities from 65 to 105, along with a partnership with health authorities in Zabarmari, which currently hosts over 45,000 displaced persons. 

MSF also noted that Borno state has continuously recorded cases of measles in the state every two years over the past ten years, with the last outbreak in 2019 affecting eight different LGAs. 

Reasons behind the continuous outbreak of measles has been attributed to the lack of routine vaccines across the states, mainly hindered by over 60 percent of health facilities either being closed or unable to treat patients because of the volatile situation the Northeast has been facing over the past decade from insurgency.

Kubura Mohammed, a mother of seven from Zabarmari had her four year old daughter admitted for measles, and expressed how swift the treatment given by MSF was, effectively saving her child’s life.

“Her treatment commenced from the moment she was admitted and this includes blood transfusion and the administration of intravenous fluids.” 

“We appreciate what MSF is doing in our community and I must add that about two weeks ago, one of my daughters was also treated for measles in this hospital. All of my seven children have had measles at different times,” she added. 

MSF has stated that they are engaged in talks with the relevant authorities both at the state and national levels as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) for an effective vaccination plan to put an end to the epidemic in the region. 

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Hafsah Abubakar Matazu

Hafsah Abubakar Matazu is the current Programme Director at HumAngle. She holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Mass Communication from Baze University Abuja. Prior to joining HumAngle, she worked for Abuja-based Daily Trust Newspapers as an investigative reporter. She leads the program team in planning and implementing grants as well as funded and non funded reporting projects. She tweets via @hafsahabubakar_

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