A team of Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has conducted 32 surgeries for noma patients in another round of surgical intervention at the Noma Hospital in Sokoto from 23 October to 4 November 2022. Since the start of the activities in 2014, a total of 1249 major surgeries have been conducted for the noma patients.MSF is supporting the Noma Hospital in Sokoto through inpatient care, reconstructive surgeries, outreach activities, nutrition and mental health support.“Noma is preventable and treatable, but people still die from it because of the limited knowledge about the disease and on how to detect it. Up to 90 per cent of people affected by noma die in the first two weeks if they don’t receive treatment in time. That is why early detection is important,” says MSF project coordinator in Sokoto, Dr Sham`un Abubakar.“Early case detection and reporting through Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) can be achieved through increased surveillance activities like training of Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers (DSNOs), Health Care Workers (HCW), Traditional Healers, Alternative Medicine Practitioners, Community, Religious and Traditional Rulers and Women and Youth Groups. Noma is a disease that shouldn’t exist anymore.”Noma is an infectious and non-contagious bacterial disease that starts as an inflammation of the gums, similar to a small mouth ulcer. In just two weeks the infection starts to destroy bones and tissues, potentially affecting the jaw, lips, cheeks, nose or eyes, leaving survivors with physical consequences including pain, breathing complications and difficulties in eating. Malnourished children and members of isolated communities with limited access to healthcare and vaccination are more vulnerable. People who survive noma either have to live sequels of the disease or manage to undergo extensive reconstructive surgery to improve quality of life. On top of that, they deal with the social stigma caused by the disfigurement.In collaboration with the health authorities and other stakeholders, MSF is commemorating the noma day (5th November), in order to raise awareness about the disease, address stigmata attached to it and highlight specialized activities on the disease, so the patients can access the services. Besides over 1000 surgeries since the beginning of the activities in Sokoto, MSF teams have held 16857 mental health counselling and 2185 health promotion sessions; furthermore, admitted 1349 patients for both medical and surgical management of noma. In addition, a total of 103 survivors were admitted to the Inpatient Therapeutic Feeding Centre (ITFC), and 35 were enrolled in the Ambulatory Therapeutic Feeding Centre (ATFC).MSF launched an international campaign in 2020 to raise awareness about noma and accelerate the research and advocacy agenda - a crucial step being to see the disease included in the World Health Organization (WHO) list of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). The inclusion would shine a spotlight on the disease, facilitating the integration of noma prevention and treatment activities into existing public health programmes and the allocation of much-needed resources for its eradication. Nigeria with the support of MSF and other noma stakeholders has taken the lead as a member state to get noma on the WHO’s NTDs list.“Noma is a neglected disease, but it’s still not included in the WHO list of Neglected Tropical Diseases although it fits all the criteria. We are supporting the Government of Nigeria’s (GoN) call for the World Health Organization to recognize noma as a Neglected Tropical Disease so more attention and more resources will be allocated to eradicate it,” Dr Sham’un added.Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare. MSF has worked continuously in Nigeria since 1996, and currently provides medical care, free of charge, in 11 states across the country.Contact: Field Communication Officer, Abdulkareem Yakubu Email: email@example.com Phone: +234 810 606 6159
The international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) also known as Doctors Without Borders in collaboration with the State Ministry of Health (SMoH) has expanded the capacity of its inpatient treatment facility for malnourished children to 565 beds to respond to an increasing influx of the patients in Katsina state.The capacity is increased through opening of 80-bed Inpatient Therapeutic Feeding Centre (ITFC) including 30 bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Dr. Yusha’u Armaya’u Maternal and Paediatric Health Facility in Kofar Sauri and the extension at Turai Ummaru YarAdua Maternity and Children Hospital in Katsina, the state capital.Governor of Katsina State Aminu Bello Masari together with MSF team inaugurated the new ward in a ceremony, also attended by the commissioner of health, royal fathers, volunteers, and others on Monday.MSF teams has been witnessing an alarming rise in admissions of malnourished children in its facilities in Katsina since the start of the year. In June, the team had to quickly increase their inpatient capacity to 280 beds, but the influx of malnourished children was so significant both in outpatient and inpatient that restricted admission criteria had to be introduced for some outpatient treatment centres.Between January and July, MSF teams in Katsina have admitted and treated over five thousand children suffering from severe malnutrition with complications under its inpatient programme while about 50 thousand children have so far been enrolled under the outpatient program with currently more 20,000 children in the cohort for of follow up.“We had to put in place temporary structures by way of extension at the Turai YarAdua Hospital to effectively manage and treat the increasing number of children suffering from malnutrition, and further expand the bed capacity at Kofar Sauri”, says Hassan Issa, MSF Emergency Coordinator in Katsina, Nigeria. “We are working in collaboration with the state government and our teams are ready to treat up to 100,000 malnourished children this year in our nutrition programme in Katsina state alone.”Katsina is one of the chronically food-insecure states in Northwest Nigeria with a low level of coverage in terms of malnutrition case management. The state is going through escalating levels of violence and displacement have pushed many communities to their limits. In recent years, armed groups that are locally referred to as ‘bandits’ have intensified attacks, killings, kidnappings, lootings and sexual violence. Many people cannot farm, cattle are stolen, and markets and trade are disrupted amidst soaring staple food prices – which remain above the five-year average in most Nigerian markets– in an already fragile health context.“The lean season or hunger gap is approaching its peak, and the malaria transmission is further deteriorating the health and nutritional status with more severe cases admitted that need intensive medical care (blood transfusion, perfusion, NG tube to feed children etc) in inpatients.” says Hassan Issa. .MSF teams support in the treatment of malaria through test and treat for outpatients with about 800 treated since the beginning of July. MSF also continues to support Jibia IDPs with drug donations and in July about 500 consultation was done from which 70 percent were children under five years old. “We have reached at our maximum capacity, and the patients are still arriving in large numbers. We again strongly urge all other health and humanitarian actors to immediately take steps to address the alarming inflow of the malnourished children.”If the current humanitarian assistance lags far behind in northwest Nigeria, that’s partly because the UN have failed to include the region in its humanitarian response plan for the country for the current year, which primarily focuses on the critical situation in the northeast. As a result, many organisations are struggling to follow up on assessments and secure funding to implement lifesaving support in northwest Nigeria, despite the known acute needs.Other than Katsina, MSF teams has been providing treatment to malnourished children in Kano, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi states. We are supporting 8 inpatient and 31 outpatient facilities across five states in the Northwest. In MSF run or supported outpatient nutrition centres, almost 53,000 patients of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and about 25,000 patients of moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) were admitted between January and end of July 2022.Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare. MSF first started working in Nigeria in 1996, and currently provides healthcare services in 11 states across the country.