NewsMSF Alarms Over Lack Of Humanitarian Support In Northwest States

MSF Alarms Over Lack Of Humanitarian Support In Northwest States


March 14, (THEWILL) – An International medical organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), has expressed alarm over the lack of adequate humanitarian support to victims of violence and deteriorating economic conditions displaced from their homes in northwest states.

Mohamed Ali Adan, Communications Officer – MSF Nigeria, disclosed this in a statement made available to Journalists. The statement notes that the level of humanitarian support available to respond to people’s critical needs in northern Nigeria is in dramatic decline. “Yet, the situation is largely being ignored by donors and aid organisations.”

The MSF said over recent years, more than 600,000 people have been displaced from their homes in northwest Nigeria as a result of extreme violence, deteriorating economic conditions, and climate change.


It maintains that despite encouraging signs of mobilisation from humanitarian actors and donors in 2023, the funding and aid currently available are vastly insufficient for people’s growing humanitarian needs.

“While both northeast and northwest regions remain affected by high levels of malnutrition and preventable diseases, the non-inclusion of the latter in all previous Humanitarian Response Plans (HRP), is alarming.

“We have repeatedly expressed our concerns to the UN and donors about the alarming and deteriorating humanitarian crisis in the northwest”, says MSF head of mission, Ahmed Bilal.

“The lack of recognition of the crisis is having a severe impact on the health and humanitarian needs of the population, and delaying the response which is desperately needed.”

“People living in the states of Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina and Kebbi have been hit by the persistent violence, mainly armed banditry and kidnappings in northwest Nigeria.” The statement further revealed.

It recounted that last year, more than 2,000 people were killed in more than 1,000 violent incidents in the region, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project.

“As well as being displaced from their homes, people have lost their livelihoods, and are often no longer able to reach their farms for security reasons, they struggle to find food, and accessing healthcare and other basic services has become increasingly difficult and dangerous.”

The MSF said the crisis has seen rates of malnutrition and other diseases spiral. It is estimated that around 2.6 million children have Severe Acute Malnutrition in the country, from which 532,163 are in Sokoto, Katsina and Zamfara according to national nutritional surveys conducted by UNICEF and authorities.

“Last year, MSF medical teams working in Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina and Kano states treated 171,465 malnourished children as outpatients and admitted 32,104 children for life-threatening severe acute malnutrition – a 14 per cent rise on the previous year.

“In Katsina, MSF found high levels of acute malnutrition in 2023 with 17,4% of the surveyed children suffering from acute malnutrition in Jibia local government area at the beginning of the lean season, so not even when access to food is the most difficult.

“The high rate of admissions to inpatient facilities has been accompanied by alarming mortality rates, as was the case in one of our supported facilities in Zamfara state where it reached 23,1%.

“Sadly, many children are dying within 48 hours after arriving in critical conditions, too late to be saved due to the barriers in reaching healthcare. Overall, 854 children admitted to MSF facilities in the northwest died 24 to 48 hours after admission in 2023.” It is further revealed in the statement.

“We are very alarmed about forthcoming reductions in funding activities for some organisations amid global cuts to humanitarian assistance”, says MSF country representative, Dr Simba Tirima.

“While MSF does not rely on governmental or institutional funds for its activities, this is not the case for most aid organisations in the northwest, whose funding depends heavily on the UN’s Humanitarian Response Plan.

“There were hopeful signs for the northwest last year, but a series of opportunities have been missed and the same cannot happen again in 2024. This year might become the worst year yet in terms of humanitarian needs and suffering for the population.”

To alleviate the suffering of vulnerable populations, MSF believes that priority should be given to preventing and treating malnutrition and to vaccinating people against preventable diseases, including improving routine and catch-up immunisations and carrying out reactive vaccination campaigns in response to ongoing disease outbreaks.

This, it said, is paramount for reducing morbidity and mortality amongst vulnerable populations, particularly children under five years.

MSF also called on the humanitarian community and Nigerian government to urgently mobilise across northwest Nigeria, where access is possible, to respond to this neglected humanitarian emergency.

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Tunde Omolehin is an award-winning Journalist with prose in investigative and storytelling that is connecting the dots between the under-reported communities and policymakers to ensure good governance and accountability.

Tunde Omolehin, THEWILL
Tunde Omolehin is an award-winning Journalist with prose in investigative and storytelling that is connecting the dots between the under-reported communities and policymakers to ensure good governance and accountability.

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