Key medical figures:
• 18,600 outpatient consultations
• 6,400 births assisted
• 1,500 surgical interventions
Health indicators for people living in northern Nigeria remain poor and there are frequent outbreaks of measles, meningitis and cholera.
An upsurge in violence in 2013 added to the difficulty of obtaining adequate healthcare. Threats posed by Ansaru and Boko Haram are affecting security for Nigerians as well as aid organisations.
Where possible, teams from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) continued to deliver specialist healthcare to vulnerable people and responded to outbreaks of disease.
Lead poisoning in Zamfara
The rising price of gold has led to renewed interest in mining in Zamfara state, where unsafe practices have resulted in a number of villages being contaminated with lead. The gold deposits contain unusually high concentrations of the metal, and as the rocks are ground into sand highly contaminated dust fills the air. Lead can enter the body through the lungs or digestive tract and is particularly harmful to children, potentially causing brain damage, kidney problems and death. MSF teams screened more than 1,570 children in 2013 and provided some 10,800 basichealth consultations for children under five. Since the beginning of the project, 4,804 children have been screened and 4,306 treated. MSF continues to lobby at federal government level to remediate theremaining villages – for example remove lead-contaminated soil and mining waste from villages, wells and ponds – and treat the children affected by lead poisoning who live there.
Providing maternity care and fistula surgery
Pregnant women in Jigawa state have limited access to maternity services, and deaths due to pregnancy and childbirth are high. It is also estimated that between 400,000 and one million Nigerian women live with obstetric fistula, a consequence of birth complications that causes not only pain but incontinence, which in turn often results in social stigma. MSF’s programme in Jahun hospital cares for women with obstetric emergencies and offers surgical repair of fistulas. More than 8,390 women were admitted to the obstetrics unit and 370 women underwent surgery for fistulas.
A maternal and child health programme continued in Goronyo, Sokoto state, where many people suffer from malaria. The project closed in June due to insecurity.
Emergency care in Borno
The ongoing violence in the northeast caused population displacement to other states, including Abuja, and people also fled to countries such as Niger and Cameroon. MSF provided medical care to 3,750 people in Baga and Chibok. The team ended theintervention, which lasted for 10 weeks, in October because of insecurity.
Measles and cholera
A measles outbreak spread through Katsina state in January and MSF donated medicine to 300 public health clinics, thus providing treatment for 14,290 people. More than 217,490 children were vaccinated against measles in Bakori, Sabuwa, Funtua, Dandume and Faskari.
Between March and July a team responded to a measles outbreak in Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara states, treating 47,585 people and donating 3,600 treatment kits. Over 2,000 people received cholera treatment in Riniand Gusau between September and the end of December.
No. staff end 2013: 649 | Year MSF first worked in the country: 1971