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  •  A growing yet largely ignored malnutrition crisis is unfolding in northwest Nigeria which threatens the lives of tens of thousands of children the medical humanitarian organisation M decins Sans Fronti res Doctors Without Borders MSF warned today Since January MSF teams working in partnership with Nigerian health authorities in five northwestern states have already treated more than 50 000 children with acute malnutrition including 7 000 who required hospital care MSF fears that the situation will soon become untenable without increased lifesaving humanitarian support We re getting ready to treat up to 100 000 malnourished children this year in our nutrition programme in Katsina state alone and have also expanded our response in Kebbi Sokoto Zamfara and Kano states said Michel Olivier Lacharite head of MSF emergency operations The hunger gap has begun and the peak of malaria transmission which would further deteriorate the health and nutritional status of children is yet to come Despite our calls in recent months to both humanitarian organisations and authorities to scale up medical activities we have not seen the mobilisation needed to avert a devastating nutrition crisis said Lacharite Acknowledging the acute needs of these children is long overdue and we strongly urge making lifesaving support a priority now In the area of Gummi Zamfara state MSF teams conducted a screening of more than 36 000 children under five years old in June following a nutrition alert The results were alarming as more than half the children were found to be malnourished Of the total screened children almost every fourth was severely malnourished and in need of urgent medical care MSF in cooperation with the authorities is immediately launching an emergency response in the area In Katsina the teams quickly had to increase their inpatient capacity from 100 to nearly 280 beds in the last few weeks but the influx of malnourished children was so significant that restricted admission criteria had to be introduced for some of the treatment centres In Kebbi where MSF runs an inpatient and two outpatient facilities about 1 500 malnourished children have been treated since March In this chronically food insecure region escalating levels of violence have pushed many communities to their limits including about 500 000 people forced to flee from home 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 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 organizations are struggling to follow up on assessments and secure funding to implement lifesaving support in northwest Nigeria despite the known acute needs The plight of malnourished children in northwest Nigeria cannot continue to be neglected said Froukje Pelsma MSF head of mission in Nigeria International donors and agencies including UNICEF and the World Food Program must increase their support to health facilities to provide communities with access to nutritional treatment in collaboration with the Nigerian authorities who must contribute as well While fighting against malnutrition in Zamfara since 2015 MSF has provided additional capacity in Katsina Kebbi Sokoto Zamfara and Kano states in 2021 and 2022 Today MSF is running 25 outpatient and 8 inpatient malnutrition services across the five states and MSF teams treated close to 31 000 children with severe acute malnutrition in 2021 MSF also recently raised the alarm on the situation in Maiduguri Borno state where our inpatient malnutrition centre is overwhelmed with high numbers of patients 2 199 children from January to June representing a 50 per cent increase compared to the same period last year
    “Malnutrition crisis threatens tens of thousands of children in northwest Nigeria” says MSF
     A growing yet largely ignored malnutrition crisis is unfolding in northwest Nigeria which threatens the lives of tens of thousands of children the medical humanitarian organisation M decins Sans Fronti res Doctors Without Borders MSF warned today Since January MSF teams working in partnership with Nigerian health authorities in five northwestern states have already treated more than 50 000 children with acute malnutrition including 7 000 who required hospital care MSF fears that the situation will soon become untenable without increased lifesaving humanitarian support We re getting ready to treat up to 100 000 malnourished children this year in our nutrition programme in Katsina state alone and have also expanded our response in Kebbi Sokoto Zamfara and Kano states said Michel Olivier Lacharite head of MSF emergency operations The hunger gap has begun and the peak of malaria transmission which would further deteriorate the health and nutritional status of children is yet to come Despite our calls in recent months to both humanitarian organisations and authorities to scale up medical activities we have not seen the mobilisation needed to avert a devastating nutrition crisis said Lacharite Acknowledging the acute needs of these children is long overdue and we strongly urge making lifesaving support a priority now In the area of Gummi Zamfara state MSF teams conducted a screening of more than 36 000 children under five years old in June following a nutrition alert The results were alarming as more than half the children were found to be malnourished Of the total screened children almost every fourth was severely malnourished and in need of urgent medical care MSF in cooperation with the authorities is immediately launching an emergency response in the area In Katsina the teams quickly had to increase their inpatient capacity from 100 to nearly 280 beds in the last few weeks but the influx of malnourished children was so significant that restricted admission criteria had to be introduced for some of the treatment centres In Kebbi where MSF runs an inpatient and two outpatient facilities about 1 500 malnourished children have been treated since March In this chronically food insecure region escalating levels of violence have pushed many communities to their limits including about 500 000 people forced to flee from home 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 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 organizations are struggling to follow up on assessments and secure funding to implement lifesaving support in northwest Nigeria despite the known acute needs The plight of malnourished children in northwest Nigeria cannot continue to be neglected said Froukje Pelsma MSF head of mission in Nigeria International donors and agencies including UNICEF and the World Food Program must increase their support to health facilities to provide communities with access to nutritional treatment in collaboration with the Nigerian authorities who must contribute as well While fighting against malnutrition in Zamfara since 2015 MSF has provided additional capacity in Katsina Kebbi Sokoto Zamfara and Kano states in 2021 and 2022 Today MSF is running 25 outpatient and 8 inpatient malnutrition services across the five states and MSF teams treated close to 31 000 children with severe acute malnutrition in 2021 MSF also recently raised the alarm on the situation in Maiduguri Borno state where our inpatient malnutrition centre is overwhelmed with high numbers of patients 2 199 children from January to June representing a 50 per cent increase compared to the same period last year
    “Malnutrition crisis threatens tens of thousands of children in northwest Nigeria” says MSF
    Features5 months ago

    “Malnutrition crisis threatens tens of thousands of children in northwest Nigeria” says MSF

    A growing, yet largely ignored, malnutrition crisis is unfolding in northwest Nigeria, which threatens the lives of tens of thousands of children, the medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières /Doctors Without Borders (MSF) warned today. Since January, MSF teams, working in partnership with Nigerian health authorities in five northwestern states, have already treated more than 50,000 children with acute malnutrition, including 7,000 who required hospital care. MSF fears that the situation will soon become untenable without increased lifesaving humanitarian support. “We’re getting ready to treat up to 100,000 malnourished children this year in our nutrition programme in Katsina state alone, and have also expanded our response in Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kano states,” said Michel-Olivier Lacharite, head of MSF emergency operations. “The hunger gap has begun, and the peak of malaria transmission which would further deteriorate the health and nutritional status of children is yet to come.”“Despite our calls in recent months to both humanitarian organisations and authorities to scale up medical activities, we have not seen the mobilisation needed to avert a devastating nutrition crisis,” said Lacharite. “Acknowledging the acute needs of these children is long overdue, and we strongly urge making lifesaving support a priority now.” In the area of Gummi, Zamfara state, MSF teams conducted a screening of more than 36,000 children under five years old in June, following a nutrition alert. The results were alarming, as more than half the children were found to be malnourished. Of the total screened children, almost every fourth was severely malnourished and in need of urgent medical care. MSF, in cooperation with the authorities, is immediately launching an emergency response in the area. In Katsina, the teams quickly had to increase their inpatient capacity from 100 to nearly 280 beds in the last few weeks, but the influx of malnourished children was so significant that restricted admission criteria had to be introduced for some of the treatment centres. In Kebbi, where MSF runs an inpatient and two outpatient facilities, about 1,500 malnourished children have been treated since March.In this chronically food-insecure region, escalating levels of violence have pushed many communities to their limits, including about 500,000 people forced to flee from home. 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.  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 organizations are struggling to follow up on assessments and secure funding to implement lifesaving support in northwest Nigeria, despite the known acute needs. “The plight of malnourished children in northwest Nigeria cannot continue to be neglected,” said Froukje Pelsma, MSF head of mission in Nigeria. “International donors and agencies, including UNICEF and the World Food Program, must increase their support to health facilities to provide communities with access to nutritional treatment, in collaboration with the Nigerian authorities who must contribute as well.” While fighting against malnutrition in Zamfara since 2015, MSF has provided additional capacity in Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kano states in 2021 and 2022. Today, MSF is running 25 outpatient and 8 inpatient malnutrition services across the five states, and MSF teams treated close to 31,000 children with severe acute malnutrition in 2021. MSF also recently raised the alarm on the situation in Maiduguri, Borno state, where our inpatient malnutrition centre is overwhelmed with high numbers of patients – 2,199 children from January to June, representing a 50 per cent increase compared to the same period last year. 

  •  Since May M decins Sans Fronti res MSF has been witnessing an unprecedented influx of malnourished children to our nutrition center in Maiduguri Nigeria suggesting an alarming nutritional crisis in Borno state We are therefore calling for an urgent scale up of the humanitarian response in Borno in advance of the hunger gap peak period which could be much more severe than in previous years if current trends continue It is critical that action is taken now in advance of the seasonal malnutrition peak to avoid an even worse situation says Shaukat Muttaqi MSF head of mission in Nigeria We are only at the very beginning of the hunger gap period and already our facility is overwhelmed with more patients than we ve ever seen on a monthly basis since the project opened in 2017 Previous trends tell us the worst is still to come This represents a big flashing warning sign Unless urgent steps are taken to prepare for the looming peak people in Maiduguri will suffer deadly consequences says Muttaqi So far this year we have admitted 2 140 malnourished children for hospital care in our inpatient therapeutic feeding centre ITFC about 50 percent more than from the same period last year For six weeks in May and June even though the peak hunger gap season had barely begun more malnourished patients arrived than at any time since the project opened in 2017 including at the very peak of the season in previous years Until May our outpatient therapeutic feeding program saw a 25 percent increase in enrolments compared to last year In response our teams extended the existing ITFC capacity from 120 beds to 200 beds Even with that emergency measure in place for some days in June there were not enough beds for all the malnourished children being admitted Other humanitarian organisations have also been operating at full or beyond their capacities In some cases organisations have had to reduce services due to a lack of funding including the closure of 16 much needed outpatient therapeutic feeding centres As a result and if current trends continue services will be overwhelmed and many more malnourished children will be at risk of dying Most urgently we need to see an increase in hospital capacity for treatment of severely malnourished children but that must also be met in parallel with a major scale up of interventions at the community level to get ahead of a potential worst case scenario says Muttaqi That means expanding outpatient feeding programmes food security immunisation and access to water and hygiene Malnutrition is a chronic and multi faceted concern in Borno State driven by the cumulative impact of displacement insecurity poverty lack of access to healthcare and other factors It is historically most acute between late June and early September during the lean season the period between the planting of crops and the harvest period The added stressors of low immunisation lack of access to clean water hygiene and healthcare too often combine with chronic food insecurity to produce devastating effects for children Periodic outbreaks of diseases particularly measles and cholera as well as seasonal peaks of malaria can further compound the situation Last year Nigeria experienced an exceptionally large outbreak of cholera while immunisation rates among children in Borno State are alarmingly low Access to healthcare is also a daily challenge for people particularly displaced people My children never got vaccinated apart from their immunisation at birth My four year old son becomes sick during the rainy season every year There is no free medical facility in our area so I just take him to the pharmacy and get medicine there says Hussaina Ali whose youngest child is now also malnourished and is undergoing treatment at the ITFC The cumulative impact of years long conflict and insecurity continues to drive long term displacement which undermines peoples ability to cultivate food and access healthcare As a result rising food prices are taking a particularly high toll on displaced people In the MSF ITFC 32 per cent of the malnourished children admitted belong to internally displaced families who are particularly reliant on humanitarian assistance As the traditional peak of the lean season is approaching Borno is standing on the edge of a crisis that could put the lives of thousands of children in danger says Dr Htet Aung Kyi MSF medical coordinator in Nigeria There is no time to lose An urgent scale up of the nutritional response is needed now and humanitarian organisations have to be much better prepared for the peak says Kyi This means tackling malnutrition by scaling up the medical response but also in parallel preventing health threats such as measles cholera and other infectious disease outbreaks
    MSF calls for urgent humanitarian response in Borno
     Since May M decins Sans Fronti res MSF has been witnessing an unprecedented influx of malnourished children to our nutrition center in Maiduguri Nigeria suggesting an alarming nutritional crisis in Borno state We are therefore calling for an urgent scale up of the humanitarian response in Borno in advance of the hunger gap peak period which could be much more severe than in previous years if current trends continue It is critical that action is taken now in advance of the seasonal malnutrition peak to avoid an even worse situation says Shaukat Muttaqi MSF head of mission in Nigeria We are only at the very beginning of the hunger gap period and already our facility is overwhelmed with more patients than we ve ever seen on a monthly basis since the project opened in 2017 Previous trends tell us the worst is still to come This represents a big flashing warning sign Unless urgent steps are taken to prepare for the looming peak people in Maiduguri will suffer deadly consequences says Muttaqi So far this year we have admitted 2 140 malnourished children for hospital care in our inpatient therapeutic feeding centre ITFC about 50 percent more than from the same period last year For six weeks in May and June even though the peak hunger gap season had barely begun more malnourished patients arrived than at any time since the project opened in 2017 including at the very peak of the season in previous years Until May our outpatient therapeutic feeding program saw a 25 percent increase in enrolments compared to last year In response our teams extended the existing ITFC capacity from 120 beds to 200 beds Even with that emergency measure in place for some days in June there were not enough beds for all the malnourished children being admitted Other humanitarian organisations have also been operating at full or beyond their capacities In some cases organisations have had to reduce services due to a lack of funding including the closure of 16 much needed outpatient therapeutic feeding centres As a result and if current trends continue services will be overwhelmed and many more malnourished children will be at risk of dying Most urgently we need to see an increase in hospital capacity for treatment of severely malnourished children but that must also be met in parallel with a major scale up of interventions at the community level to get ahead of a potential worst case scenario says Muttaqi That means expanding outpatient feeding programmes food security immunisation and access to water and hygiene Malnutrition is a chronic and multi faceted concern in Borno State driven by the cumulative impact of displacement insecurity poverty lack of access to healthcare and other factors It is historically most acute between late June and early September during the lean season the period between the planting of crops and the harvest period The added stressors of low immunisation lack of access to clean water hygiene and healthcare too often combine with chronic food insecurity to produce devastating effects for children Periodic outbreaks of diseases particularly measles and cholera as well as seasonal peaks of malaria can further compound the situation Last year Nigeria experienced an exceptionally large outbreak of cholera while immunisation rates among children in Borno State are alarmingly low Access to healthcare is also a daily challenge for people particularly displaced people My children never got vaccinated apart from their immunisation at birth My four year old son becomes sick during the rainy season every year There is no free medical facility in our area so I just take him to the pharmacy and get medicine there says Hussaina Ali whose youngest child is now also malnourished and is undergoing treatment at the ITFC The cumulative impact of years long conflict and insecurity continues to drive long term displacement which undermines peoples ability to cultivate food and access healthcare As a result rising food prices are taking a particularly high toll on displaced people In the MSF ITFC 32 per cent of the malnourished children admitted belong to internally displaced families who are particularly reliant on humanitarian assistance As the traditional peak of the lean season is approaching Borno is standing on the edge of a crisis that could put the lives of thousands of children in danger says Dr Htet Aung Kyi MSF medical coordinator in Nigeria There is no time to lose An urgent scale up of the nutritional response is needed now and humanitarian organisations have to be much better prepared for the peak says Kyi This means tackling malnutrition by scaling up the medical response but also in parallel preventing health threats such as measles cholera and other infectious disease outbreaks
    MSF calls for urgent humanitarian response in Borno
    Opinion5 months ago

    MSF calls for urgent humanitarian response in Borno

    Since May, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been witnessing an unprecedented influx of malnourished children to our nutrition center in Maiduguri, Nigeria, suggesting an alarming nutritional crisis in Borno state. We are therefore calling for an urgent scale-up of the humanitarian response in Borno in advance of the ‘hunger gap’ peak period, which could be much more severe than in previous years if current trends continue.“It is critical that action is taken now, in advance of the seasonal malnutrition peak, to avoid an even worse situation,” says Shaukat Muttaqi, MSF head of mission in Nigeria.“We are only at the very beginning of the hunger gap period and already our facility is overwhelmed with more patients than we’ve ever seen on a monthly basis since the project opened in 2017. Previous trends tell us the worst is still to come. This represents a big flashing warning sign. Unless urgent steps are taken to prepare for the looming peak, people in Maiduguri will suffer deadly consequences,” says Muttaqi.So far this year, we have admitted 2,140 malnourished children for hospital care in our inpatient therapeutic feeding centre (ITFC) – about 50 percent more than from the same period last year.For six weeks in May and June, even though the peak hunger gap season had barely begun, more malnourished patients arrived than at any time since the project opened in 2017 – including at the very peak of the season in previous years. Until May, our outpatient therapeutic feeding program saw a 25 percent increase in enrolments compared to last year.In response, our teams extended the existing ITFC capacity from 120 beds to 200 beds. Even with that emergency measure in place, for some days in June there were not enough beds for all the malnourished children being admitted. Other humanitarian organisations have also been operating at full or beyond their capacities. In some cases, organisations have had to reduce services due to a lack of funding – including the closure of 16 much-needed outpatient therapeutic feeding centres. As a result and if current trends continue, services will be overwhelmed, and many more malnourished children will be at risk of dying.“Most urgently, we need to see an increase in hospital capacity for treatment of severely malnourished children, but that must also be met in parallel with a major scale up of interventions at the community level to get ahead of a potential worst-case scenario,” says Muttaqi. “That means expanding outpatient feeding programmes, food security, immunisation, and access to water and hygiene.”Malnutrition is a chronic and multi-faceted concern in Borno State, driven by the cumulative impact of displacement, insecurity, poverty, lack of access to healthcare and other factors. It is historically most acute between late June and early September during the ‘lean season’ – the period between the planting of crops and the harvest period. The added stressors of low immunisation, lack of access to clean water, hygiene and healthcare, too often combine with chronic food insecurity to produce devastating effects for children.Periodic outbreaks of diseases, particularly measles and cholera, as well as seasonal peaks of malaria, can further compound the situation. Last year, Nigeria experienced an exceptionally large outbreak of cholera while immunisation rates among children in Borno State are alarmingly low. Access to healthcare is also a daily challenge for people, particularly displaced people.“My children never got vaccinated apart from their immunisation at birth. My four-year-old son becomes sick during the rainy season every year. There is no free medical facility in our area, so I just take him to the pharmacy and get medicine there,” says Hussaina Ali, whose youngest child is now also malnourished and is undergoing treatment at the ITFC.The cumulative impact of years-long conflict and insecurity continues to drive long-term displacement, which undermines peoples’ ability to cultivate food and access healthcare. As a result, rising food prices are taking a particularly high toll on displaced people. In the MSF ITFC, 32 per cent of the malnourished children admitted belong to internally displaced families, who are particularly reliant on humanitarian assistance.“As the traditional peak of the lean season is approaching, Borno is standing on the edge of a crisis that could put the lives of thousands of children in danger,” says Dr Htet Aung Kyi, MSF medical coordinator in Nigeria.“There is no time to lose. An urgent scale up of the nutritional response is needed now, and humanitarian organisations have to be much better prepared for the peak,” says Kyi. “This means tackling malnutrition by scaling up the medical response, but also in parallel preventing health threats such as measles, cholera and other infectious disease outbreaks.”

  •   People living in Somalia and Somaliland are facing one of the worst droughts in decades after four consecutive bad rainy seasons Crop failures and rising food prices combined with continued insecurity and a massive locust invasion that swept through the Horn of Africa have forced hundreds of thousands of people to move from rural areas to urban centers They leave their homes in the hope of finding food clean water shelter and medical care Many have sought refuge in IDP camps but these sites often lack toilets handwashing stations and clean drinking water At Doctors Without Borders M decins Sans Fronti res MSF projects in Baidoa Mudug Jubaland Hargeisa and Las Anod patients tell us they need humanitarian assistance to survive Many people describe their challenging journeys for help some walking for weeks and losing family members while on the move For 20 days we walked with our children in our arms said a 75 year old man who recently arrived at a camp in the Lower Juba region with his extended family We didn t have a donkey to carry our children so it took us 20 days to get here Our donkeys died from the drought and we had no money for a car We came to Lower Juba because we heard that families who lost their livestock could receive assistance For many people arriving at a camp does not guarantee that they will receive food water or shelter MSF staff spoke to 60 people in various camps most of whom described not having access to clean water We walked for eight days about 120 to 150 kilometers about 75 to 93 miles said a 65 year old woman who currently lives in a camp for displaced families in Afmadow Our cattle had died in the drought We heard that an organization is distributing food in the Afmadow camps I was registered but I have not received anything I m waiting everyone is waiting A series of crises one after another The current drought adds to decades of conflict recurring climate shocks frequent disease outbreaks and deepening poverty in Somalia and Somaliland And as the drought worsens the country is also experiencing a massive outbreak of measles Common and preventable diseases like measles and diarrhea have been the leading causes of death among children here and widespread water shortages and food insecurity are creating the conditions for such diseases to spread rapidly Somalis are facing a series of crises one after another said Djoen Besselink MSF representative in Somalia We are already hearing stories of despair with some people telling us they have been faced with the impossible choice of letting one child die to save others MSF teams have seen nearly 6 000 suspected measles cases from the beginning of the year to mid May in various hospitals in Somalia and Somaliland Vaccination rates among children in Somalia are among the lowest in the world and the COVID 19 pandemic and widespread insecurity have hampered efforts to routinely immunize children under five In February the hospital we support in Baidoa has already treated more than 2 500 children with measles since the beginning of the outbreak said Bakri Abubakr MSF program manager in Somalia Our 20 outpatient therapeutic feeding centers in Baidoa admit between 700 and 1 000 children per week Baidoa also recorded its first cholera cases in April 2022 Malnourished children are three times more likely to die from the waterborne disease and poor conditions in the city s overcrowded informal settlements are creating the opportunity for its rapid spread Baidoa s population used to be around 130 000 people The city is currently home to more than double that number of displaced people with many families living in overcrowded settlements Acute malnutrition among children As the drought progresses and food insecurity worsens our teams are already seeing extremely worrying signs of acute malnutrition among children The lack of health care services and insecurity have made it difficult to assess the general nutritional status of people in the region But in February our teams in Baidoa screened 81 706 children under the age of five They found severe acute malnutrition rates of 3 percent and global acute malnutrition rates of 17 percent In one week alone we admitted nearly 1 000 children to our outpatient therapeutic feeding program at 20 different centers in Baidoa city Bakri said Thirty percent of the children were acutely severely malnourished which indicates that we are in an acute emergency As more people move to urban areas in search of assistance the limited public services available are overwhelmed In Baidoa the arrival of large numbers of displaced families and rising cases of cholera and malnutrition are straining the city s already struggling health care facilities People are caught in a downward spiral that without a rapid and sustained response will continue to take a heavy toll on Somalis Besselink said
    In Somalia and Somaliland, drought is worsening multiple health crises
      People living in Somalia and Somaliland are facing one of the worst droughts in decades after four consecutive bad rainy seasons Crop failures and rising food prices combined with continued insecurity and a massive locust invasion that swept through the Horn of Africa have forced hundreds of thousands of people to move from rural areas to urban centers They leave their homes in the hope of finding food clean water shelter and medical care Many have sought refuge in IDP camps but these sites often lack toilets handwashing stations and clean drinking water At Doctors Without Borders M decins Sans Fronti res MSF projects in Baidoa Mudug Jubaland Hargeisa and Las Anod patients tell us they need humanitarian assistance to survive Many people describe their challenging journeys for help some walking for weeks and losing family members while on the move For 20 days we walked with our children in our arms said a 75 year old man who recently arrived at a camp in the Lower Juba region with his extended family We didn t have a donkey to carry our children so it took us 20 days to get here Our donkeys died from the drought and we had no money for a car We came to Lower Juba because we heard that families who lost their livestock could receive assistance For many people arriving at a camp does not guarantee that they will receive food water or shelter MSF staff spoke to 60 people in various camps most of whom described not having access to clean water We walked for eight days about 120 to 150 kilometers about 75 to 93 miles said a 65 year old woman who currently lives in a camp for displaced families in Afmadow Our cattle had died in the drought We heard that an organization is distributing food in the Afmadow camps I was registered but I have not received anything I m waiting everyone is waiting A series of crises one after another The current drought adds to decades of conflict recurring climate shocks frequent disease outbreaks and deepening poverty in Somalia and Somaliland And as the drought worsens the country is also experiencing a massive outbreak of measles Common and preventable diseases like measles and diarrhea have been the leading causes of death among children here and widespread water shortages and food insecurity are creating the conditions for such diseases to spread rapidly Somalis are facing a series of crises one after another said Djoen Besselink MSF representative in Somalia We are already hearing stories of despair with some people telling us they have been faced with the impossible choice of letting one child die to save others MSF teams have seen nearly 6 000 suspected measles cases from the beginning of the year to mid May in various hospitals in Somalia and Somaliland Vaccination rates among children in Somalia are among the lowest in the world and the COVID 19 pandemic and widespread insecurity have hampered efforts to routinely immunize children under five In February the hospital we support in Baidoa has already treated more than 2 500 children with measles since the beginning of the outbreak said Bakri Abubakr MSF program manager in Somalia Our 20 outpatient therapeutic feeding centers in Baidoa admit between 700 and 1 000 children per week Baidoa also recorded its first cholera cases in April 2022 Malnourished children are three times more likely to die from the waterborne disease and poor conditions in the city s overcrowded informal settlements are creating the opportunity for its rapid spread Baidoa s population used to be around 130 000 people The city is currently home to more than double that number of displaced people with many families living in overcrowded settlements Acute malnutrition among children As the drought progresses and food insecurity worsens our teams are already seeing extremely worrying signs of acute malnutrition among children The lack of health care services and insecurity have made it difficult to assess the general nutritional status of people in the region But in February our teams in Baidoa screened 81 706 children under the age of five They found severe acute malnutrition rates of 3 percent and global acute malnutrition rates of 17 percent In one week alone we admitted nearly 1 000 children to our outpatient therapeutic feeding program at 20 different centers in Baidoa city Bakri said Thirty percent of the children were acutely severely malnourished which indicates that we are in an acute emergency As more people move to urban areas in search of assistance the limited public services available are overwhelmed In Baidoa the arrival of large numbers of displaced families and rising cases of cholera and malnutrition are straining the city s already struggling health care facilities People are caught in a downward spiral that without a rapid and sustained response will continue to take a heavy toll on Somalis Besselink said
    In Somalia and Somaliland, drought is worsening multiple health crises
    Africa6 months ago

    In Somalia and Somaliland, drought is worsening multiple health crises

    People living in Somalia and Somaliland are facing one of the worst droughts in decades after four consecutive bad rainy seasons. Crop failures and rising food prices, combined with continued insecurity and a massive locust invasion that swept through the Horn of Africa, have forced hundreds of thousands of people to move from rural areas to urban centers. They leave their homes in the hope of finding food, clean water, shelter and medical care. Many have sought refuge in IDP camps, but these sites often lack toilets, handwashing stations and clean drinking water.

    At Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) projects in Baidoa, Mudug, Jubaland, Hargeisa and Las Anod, patients tell us they need humanitarian assistance to survive. Many people describe their challenging journeys for help, some walking for weeks and losing family members while on the move.

    “For 20 days we walked with our children in our arms,” said a 75-year-old man who recently arrived at a camp in the Lower Juba region with his extended family. “We didn't have a donkey to carry our children, so it took us 20 days to get here. Our donkeys died from the drought and we had no money for a car. We came to Lower Juba because we heard that families who lost their livestock could receive assistance.”

    For many people, arriving at a camp does not guarantee that they will receive food, water or shelter. MSF staff spoke to 60 people in various camps, most of whom described not having access to clean water.

    “We walked for eight days, about 120 to 150 kilometers [about 75 to 93 miles]”, said a 65-year-old woman who currently lives in a camp for displaced families in Afmadow. “Our cattle had died in the drought. We heard that an organization is distributing food in the Afmadow camps. I was registered but I have not received anything. I'm waiting, everyone is waiting."

    “A series of crises, one after another”

    The current drought adds to decades of conflict, recurring climate shocks, frequent disease outbreaks and deepening poverty in Somalia and Somaliland. And as the drought worsens, the country is also experiencing a massive outbreak of measles. Common and preventable diseases like measles and diarrhea have been the leading causes of death among children here, and widespread water shortages and food insecurity are creating the conditions for such diseases to spread rapidly.

    "Somalis are facing a series of crises, one after another," said Djoen Besselink, MSF representative in Somalia. “We are already hearing stories of despair, with some people telling us they have been faced with the impossible choice of letting one child die to save others.”

    MSF teams have seen nearly 6,000 suspected measles cases from the beginning of the year to mid-May in various hospitals in Somalia and Somaliland. Vaccination rates among children in Somalia are among the lowest in the world, and the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread insecurity have hampered efforts to routinely immunize children under five.

    “In February, the hospital we support in Baidoa has already treated more than 2,500 children with measles since the beginning of the outbreak,” said Bakri Abubakr, MSF program manager in Somalia. “Our 20 outpatient therapeutic feeding centers in Baidoa admit between 700 and 1,000 children per week.”

    Baidoa also recorded its first cholera cases in April 2022. Malnourished children are three times more likely to die from the waterborne disease, and poor conditions in the city's overcrowded informal settlements are creating the opportunity for its rapid spread. Baidoa's population used to be around 130,000 people. The city is currently home to more than double that number of displaced people, with many families living in overcrowded settlements.

    Acute malnutrition among children

    As the drought progresses and food insecurity worsens, our teams are already seeing extremely worrying signs of acute malnutrition among children. The lack of health care services and insecurity have made it difficult to assess the general nutritional status of people in the region. But in February, our teams in Baidoa screened 81,706 children under the age of five. They found severe acute malnutrition rates of 3 percent and global acute malnutrition rates of 17 percent.

    “In one week alone, we admitted nearly 1,000 children to our outpatient therapeutic feeding program at 20 different centers in Baidoa city,” Bakri said. "Thirty percent of the children were acutely severely malnourished, which indicates that we are in an acute emergency."

    As more people move to urban areas in search of assistance, the limited public services available are overwhelmed. In Baidoa, the arrival of large numbers of displaced families and rising cases of cholera and malnutrition are straining the city's already struggling health care facilities.

    "People are caught in a downward spiral that, without a rapid and sustained response, will continue to take a heavy toll on Somalis," Besselink said.

  •   Violent clashes between the M23 armed group and the Congolese army known by the French acronym FARDC over the past two weeks in the territories of Rutshuru and Nyiragongo in North Kivu province Democratic Republic of Congo DRC have forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes This recent mass displacement compounds the already precarious situation for displaced people in the two territories Prior to the latest clashes in Nyiragongo the territory was hosting many people who were displaced by the volcano eruption in May 2021 In Rutshuru fighting between the M23 and the FARDC end of March 2022 had already displaced approximately 50 000 people about 25 000 of whom fled to Uganda Most have not yet returned home Since the end of March it is therefore estimated that 117 000 people sought refuge in schools churches or with host families following the new wave of violence in this region of North Kivu Most of them left everything behind Precarious living conditions We are 18 families sleeping together all crammed into a classroom said No lla who is living with two of her children in the school of Kinoni village Rutshuru with almost 350 other families We no longer have access to our fields We eat what we can find but often it s barely once a day In early May M decins Sans Fronti res Doctors Without Borders MSF set up a mobile clinic in Kinoni village near the school where No lla and many families are staying Since then the clinic has been running at full capacity We have done more than 2 200 consultations since we started the mobile clinic meaning we see an average of 120 patients per day said Foura Sassou Madi MSF s head of mission in DRC The main diseases we see are malaria respiratory infections and diarrhoea MSF also organised a distribution of essential items including plastic sheeting buckets cooking utensils and soap for the displaced families staying in Kinoni Our teams also built showers and latrines to improve the living conditions and hygiene in the village Many people who have been displaced tell us that they have difficulty finding enough food said Foura Sassou Madi Some have been displaced for over two months now Displaced people in Rutshuru territory need a food distribution as soon as possible to avoid a further deterioration of their health Access to healthcare and drinking water is a priority In mid April MSF began supporting the health centres in Mungo and Rutsiro localities Rutshuru to ensure access to free healthcare for both the host and displaced communities In April and May we treated over 1100 displaced people in the health centre Some of them walked up to 5 kilometres to get here said Ez chiel Biriko head nurse at Rutsiro health centre Following the recent displacements MSF is preparing to strengthen its response in Rutsiro where about 6 500 displaced people are staying with water and sanitation activities and an additional support to the health centre Access to healthcare and drinking water are also urgently needed in Munigi Nyiragongo where 16 000 people have sought refuge according to the International Organisation for Migration IOM MSF is supporting free care to all patients and set up a referral system for urgent cases to an hospital in Goma In the last week of May MSF trucks have brought more than 100m3 of drinking water per day to the health centre and two other sites in Munigi where many displaced people have temporarily settled Access to clean water is crucial to limit the risk of water borne diseases such as cholera which is endemic in the region said Abdou Musengetsi Katumwa MSF deputy medical coordinator in Goma Armed conflicts that have affected North Kivu for more than 20 years continue to impact adversely on civilians MSF has been present in Rutshuru territory since 2005 and is currently working with four hospitals in Rutshuru Bwiza Kibirizi and Bambu as well as a dozen health centres In Goma our teams have been involved in the cholera response since 2008
    North Kivu: Tens of thousands of people displaced by new wave of violence
      Violent clashes between the M23 armed group and the Congolese army known by the French acronym FARDC over the past two weeks in the territories of Rutshuru and Nyiragongo in North Kivu province Democratic Republic of Congo DRC have forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes This recent mass displacement compounds the already precarious situation for displaced people in the two territories Prior to the latest clashes in Nyiragongo the territory was hosting many people who were displaced by the volcano eruption in May 2021 In Rutshuru fighting between the M23 and the FARDC end of March 2022 had already displaced approximately 50 000 people about 25 000 of whom fled to Uganda Most have not yet returned home Since the end of March it is therefore estimated that 117 000 people sought refuge in schools churches or with host families following the new wave of violence in this region of North Kivu Most of them left everything behind Precarious living conditions We are 18 families sleeping together all crammed into a classroom said No lla who is living with two of her children in the school of Kinoni village Rutshuru with almost 350 other families We no longer have access to our fields We eat what we can find but often it s barely once a day In early May M decins Sans Fronti res Doctors Without Borders MSF set up a mobile clinic in Kinoni village near the school where No lla and many families are staying Since then the clinic has been running at full capacity We have done more than 2 200 consultations since we started the mobile clinic meaning we see an average of 120 patients per day said Foura Sassou Madi MSF s head of mission in DRC The main diseases we see are malaria respiratory infections and diarrhoea MSF also organised a distribution of essential items including plastic sheeting buckets cooking utensils and soap for the displaced families staying in Kinoni Our teams also built showers and latrines to improve the living conditions and hygiene in the village Many people who have been displaced tell us that they have difficulty finding enough food said Foura Sassou Madi Some have been displaced for over two months now Displaced people in Rutshuru territory need a food distribution as soon as possible to avoid a further deterioration of their health Access to healthcare and drinking water is a priority In mid April MSF began supporting the health centres in Mungo and Rutsiro localities Rutshuru to ensure access to free healthcare for both the host and displaced communities In April and May we treated over 1100 displaced people in the health centre Some of them walked up to 5 kilometres to get here said Ez chiel Biriko head nurse at Rutsiro health centre Following the recent displacements MSF is preparing to strengthen its response in Rutsiro where about 6 500 displaced people are staying with water and sanitation activities and an additional support to the health centre Access to healthcare and drinking water are also urgently needed in Munigi Nyiragongo where 16 000 people have sought refuge according to the International Organisation for Migration IOM MSF is supporting free care to all patients and set up a referral system for urgent cases to an hospital in Goma In the last week of May MSF trucks have brought more than 100m3 of drinking water per day to the health centre and two other sites in Munigi where many displaced people have temporarily settled Access to clean water is crucial to limit the risk of water borne diseases such as cholera which is endemic in the region said Abdou Musengetsi Katumwa MSF deputy medical coordinator in Goma Armed conflicts that have affected North Kivu for more than 20 years continue to impact adversely on civilians MSF has been present in Rutshuru territory since 2005 and is currently working with four hospitals in Rutshuru Bwiza Kibirizi and Bambu as well as a dozen health centres In Goma our teams have been involved in the cholera response since 2008
    North Kivu: Tens of thousands of people displaced by new wave of violence
    Africa6 months ago

    North Kivu: Tens of thousands of people displaced by new wave of violence

    Violent clashes between the M23 armed group and the Congolese army (known by the French acronym FARDC) over the past two weeks in the territories of Rutshuru and Nyiragongo, in North Kivu province, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), have forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes. This recent mass displacement compounds the already precarious situation for displaced people in the two territories.

    Prior to the latest clashes in Nyiragongo, the territory was hosting many people who were displaced by the volcano eruption in May 2021. In Rutshuru, fighting between the M23 and the FARDC end of March 2022 had already displaced approximately 50,000 people, about 25,000 of whom fled to Uganda. Most have not yet returned home.

    Since the end of March, it is therefore estimated that 117,000 people sought refuge in schools, churches or with host families following the new wave of violence in this region of North Kivu. Most of them left everything behind.

    Precarious living conditions

    "We are 18 families sleeping together, all crammed into a classroom,” said Noélla, who is living with two of her children in the school of Kinoni village, Rutshuru, with almost 350 other families. "We no longer have access to our fields. We eat what we can find, but often it's barely once a day."

    In early May, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) set up a mobile clinic in Kinoni village, near the school where Noélla and many families are staying. Since then, the clinic has been running at full capacity. "We have done more than 2,200 consultations since we started the mobile clinic, meaning we see an average of 120 patients per day,” said Foura Sassou Madi, MSF’s head of mission in DRC. “The main diseases we see are malaria, respiratory infections and diarrhoea.”

    MSF also organised a distribution of essential items including plastic sheeting, buckets, cooking utensils and soap for the displaced families staying in Kinoni. Our teams also built showers and latrines to improve the living conditions and hygiene in the village.

    "Many people who have been displaced tell us that they have difficulty finding enough food,” said Foura Sassou Madi. “Some have been displaced for over two months now. Displaced people in Rutshuru territory need a food distribution as soon as possible to avoid a further deterioration of their health.”

    Access to healthcare and drinking water is a priority

    In mid-April, MSF began supporting the health centres in Mungo and Rutsiro localities, Rutshuru, to ensure access to free healthcare for both the host and displaced communities. "In April and May, we treated over 1100 displaced people in the health centre. Some of them walked up to 5 kilometres to get here," said Ezéchiel Biriko, head nurse at Rutsiro health centre. Following the recent displacements, MSF is preparing to strengthen its response in Rutsiro, where about 6,500 displaced people are staying, with water and sanitation activities and an additional support to the health centre.

    Access to healthcare and drinking water are also urgently needed in Munigi, Nyiragongo, where 16,000 people have sought refuge according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). MSF is supporting free care to all patients and set up a referral system for urgent cases to an hospital in Goma.

    In the last week of May, MSF trucks have brought more than 100m3 of drinking water per day to the health centre and two other sites in Munigi where many displaced people have temporarily settled. "Access to clean water is crucial to limit the risk of water-borne diseases, such as cholera, which is endemic in the region," said Abdou Musengetsi Katumwa, MSF deputy medical coordinator in Goma.

    Armed conflicts, that have affected North Kivu for more than 20 years, continue to impact adversely on civilians. MSF has been present in Rutshuru territory since 2005 and is currently working with four hospitals in Rutshuru, Bwiza, Kibirizi and Bambu, as well as a dozen health centres. In Goma, our teams have been involved in the cholera response since 2008 

  •   A M decins Sans Fronti res M decins Sans Fronti res MSF staff member died on May 28 after being shot three times by an employee of the armed forces of the Central African Republic CAR in the northwestern prefecture of Ouham MSF condemns this incident in the strongest possible terms and asks the authorities to clarify the circumstances that led to the murder of our colleague Mahamat Ahamat 46 had been working with MSF as a medicine dispenser in the town of Moyenne Sido since 2010 He was off duty and at home when the incident occurred around 6am local time The exact circumstances are yet to be clarified but we know that Mahamat was shot three times and died of his injuries at Kabo hospital a few hours later Mahamat leaves a wife and four children MSF is in contact with his family to provide all the necessary assistance in these extremely difficult times MSF is also collaborating with the Ministry of Health the Ministry of Defense and other relevant authorities to understand the circumstances that led to this unacceptable situation The death of our colleague is a horrific reminder of the ongoing brutal conflict affecting the people of the Central African Republic It is essential that the parties to the ongoing conflict respect civilians as well as humanitarian and medical workers patients and health facilities and not attack them
    Central African Republic: MSF condemns the killing of staff member
      A M decins Sans Fronti res M decins Sans Fronti res MSF staff member died on May 28 after being shot three times by an employee of the armed forces of the Central African Republic CAR in the northwestern prefecture of Ouham MSF condemns this incident in the strongest possible terms and asks the authorities to clarify the circumstances that led to the murder of our colleague Mahamat Ahamat 46 had been working with MSF as a medicine dispenser in the town of Moyenne Sido since 2010 He was off duty and at home when the incident occurred around 6am local time The exact circumstances are yet to be clarified but we know that Mahamat was shot three times and died of his injuries at Kabo hospital a few hours later Mahamat leaves a wife and four children MSF is in contact with his family to provide all the necessary assistance in these extremely difficult times MSF is also collaborating with the Ministry of Health the Ministry of Defense and other relevant authorities to understand the circumstances that led to this unacceptable situation The death of our colleague is a horrific reminder of the ongoing brutal conflict affecting the people of the Central African Republic It is essential that the parties to the ongoing conflict respect civilians as well as humanitarian and medical workers patients and health facilities and not attack them
    Central African Republic: MSF condemns the killing of staff member
    Africa6 months ago

    Central African Republic: MSF condemns the killing of staff member

    A Médecins Sans Frontières/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) staff member died on May 28 after being shot three times by an employee of the armed forces of the Central African Republic (CAR) in the northwestern prefecture of Ouham. MSF condemns this incident in the strongest possible terms and asks the authorities to clarify the circumstances that led to the murder of our colleague.

    Mahamat Ahamat, 46, had been working with MSF as a medicine dispenser in the town of Moyenne-Sido since 2010. He was off duty and at home when the incident occurred around 6am local time. The exact circumstances are yet to be clarified, but we know that Mahamat was shot three times and died of his injuries at Kabo hospital a few hours later.

    Mahamat leaves a wife and four children. MSF is in contact with his family to provide all the necessary assistance in these extremely difficult times. MSF is also collaborating with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Defense and other relevant authorities to understand the circumstances that led to this unacceptable situation.

    The death of our colleague is a horrific reminder of the ongoing brutal conflict affecting the people of the Central African Republic. It is essential that the parties to the ongoing conflict respect civilians, as well as humanitarian and medical workers, patients and health facilities, and not attack them.

  •  Abuja 18 05 22 M decins Sans Fronti res Doctors Without Borders MSF has handed over its lead poisoning project in Zamfara northern Nigeria to state authorities Children are no longer dying of lead poisoning in the area more than 11 years after environmental contamination caused the death of hundreds of children In March 2010 MSF received an alert about a high number of child fatalities in Nigeria s Zamfara state where more than 400 children died within just six months in several villages When MSF arrived we were suffering a lot remembers Alhaji Muhammadu Bello head of Dareta village In my village 120 children died Six or seven were dying every day Laboratory tests later confirmed high levels of lead in the blood of survivors The root cause of the poisoning was environmental contamination through unsafe artisanal mining activities in the area where gold deposits contain an unusually high concentration of lead Lead can cause severe brain damage and death in children Artisanal mining had been going on for a decade in this area People transformed the villages into processing sites and contaminated the environment for many years Children were exposed to contaminated dust and soil in the villages says MSF project coordinator Benjamim Mwangombe Before MSF could start treating patients the contaminated areas needed to be remediated so that children would not be continually re exposed to toxins Between June 2010 and August 2013 TerraGraphics International Foundation an environmental engineering organization provided environmental management training to Zamfara state s Environmental Sanitation Agency ZESA In partnership with the community eight villages in Anka and Bukkuyum local government areas were remediated by removing contaminated soils and mineral processing waste from residential areas wells and ponds Between May 2010 and December 2021 MSF screened 8 480 children under five for lead poisoning More than 80 per cent of them were enrolled in a medical lead program including 3 549 children who received lengthy chelation therapy to remove lead from their blood Five years after the outbreak in Zamfara another lead poisoning outbreak was discovered in two villages in Nigeria s Niger state in April 2015 It was also caused by artisanal gold mining and resulted in the death of at least 30 children MSF provided chelation treatment to 139 children shortly after remediation and handed over the project to Niger state authorities and traditional leaders in October 2018 Remediation and chelation therapy are not only very expensive but also insufficient to eliminate the lead poisoning hazard in the communities Due to the rampant poverty and lack of other employment opportunities in the area small scale mining remains the only option for many people Many were unaware of the health hazards caused by their mining practices Some previously remediated areas were re contaminated We had children who were re exposed more than three times Even if their compound is clean maybe they play on their uncle s compound where the soil is contaminated says Mwangombe The only sustainable long term solution is the prevention of lead poisoning MSF engaged OK International an external partner specialized in occupational and industrial health to develop and implement safer mining pilot projects in Niger and Zamfara states in partnership with Nigeria s Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and the responsible state agencies Miners were provided with information and tools to reduce exposure during mining and processing activities and to minimize off site contamination The results of the pilot projects have been encouraging and the state governments say they are committed to scaling up safer mining practices in Zamfara and Niger states We will continue to ensure that the environment remains clean so that children will not get poisoned again says Alhaji Shehu Anka general director of ZESA Almost 12 years after MSF first started intervening in the area no more children are dying of lead poisoning in Zamfara As a result MSF started the handing over process of the program to key ministries of the Zamfara state government the Anka Emirate Council and the local community at the beginning of February 2022 and completed the handing over on 11th May with the official handing over ceremony Mwangombe says the significant decrease in the under fives mortality and morbidity related to lead toxicity is not the only success Another big achievement was that our intervention was community based The community has been involved throughout so that they could take ownership We also improved local capacity In the future if there is another outbreak there will be capacity to respond One of the key factors for the successful reduction of exposure to lead poisoning was the involvement of international organizations with expertise in environmental health safer mining and occupational health that complemented MSF s medical response However challenges remain Artisanal mining is a poverty driven activity that will persist as long as gold mining is profitable Recently another area with a high level of lead contamination was discovered in Abare village in Zamfara At the end of January 2022 the Zamfara state government approved the financing of the environmental remediation of the contaminated area For the long term sustainability of remedies and to prevent children from dying from lead poisoning again all partners need to remain committed to promoting and maintaining safe mining practices Prevention requires involvement from everyone from village chiefs and traditional leaders to state authorities and legislators so that everyone s efforts will help maintain the remedy that we have handed over and prevent any future outbreak of lead poisoning in Zamfara state says Mwangombe
    Nigeria: Prevention is key to stop children from dying of lead poisoning
     Abuja 18 05 22 M decins Sans Fronti res Doctors Without Borders MSF has handed over its lead poisoning project in Zamfara northern Nigeria to state authorities Children are no longer dying of lead poisoning in the area more than 11 years after environmental contamination caused the death of hundreds of children In March 2010 MSF received an alert about a high number of child fatalities in Nigeria s Zamfara state where more than 400 children died within just six months in several villages When MSF arrived we were suffering a lot remembers Alhaji Muhammadu Bello head of Dareta village In my village 120 children died Six or seven were dying every day Laboratory tests later confirmed high levels of lead in the blood of survivors The root cause of the poisoning was environmental contamination through unsafe artisanal mining activities in the area where gold deposits contain an unusually high concentration of lead Lead can cause severe brain damage and death in children Artisanal mining had been going on for a decade in this area People transformed the villages into processing sites and contaminated the environment for many years Children were exposed to contaminated dust and soil in the villages says MSF project coordinator Benjamim Mwangombe Before MSF could start treating patients the contaminated areas needed to be remediated so that children would not be continually re exposed to toxins Between June 2010 and August 2013 TerraGraphics International Foundation an environmental engineering organization provided environmental management training to Zamfara state s Environmental Sanitation Agency ZESA In partnership with the community eight villages in Anka and Bukkuyum local government areas were remediated by removing contaminated soils and mineral processing waste from residential areas wells and ponds Between May 2010 and December 2021 MSF screened 8 480 children under five for lead poisoning More than 80 per cent of them were enrolled in a medical lead program including 3 549 children who received lengthy chelation therapy to remove lead from their blood Five years after the outbreak in Zamfara another lead poisoning outbreak was discovered in two villages in Nigeria s Niger state in April 2015 It was also caused by artisanal gold mining and resulted in the death of at least 30 children MSF provided chelation treatment to 139 children shortly after remediation and handed over the project to Niger state authorities and traditional leaders in October 2018 Remediation and chelation therapy are not only very expensive but also insufficient to eliminate the lead poisoning hazard in the communities Due to the rampant poverty and lack of other employment opportunities in the area small scale mining remains the only option for many people Many were unaware of the health hazards caused by their mining practices Some previously remediated areas were re contaminated We had children who were re exposed more than three times Even if their compound is clean maybe they play on their uncle s compound where the soil is contaminated says Mwangombe The only sustainable long term solution is the prevention of lead poisoning MSF engaged OK International an external partner specialized in occupational and industrial health to develop and implement safer mining pilot projects in Niger and Zamfara states in partnership with Nigeria s Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and the responsible state agencies Miners were provided with information and tools to reduce exposure during mining and processing activities and to minimize off site contamination The results of the pilot projects have been encouraging and the state governments say they are committed to scaling up safer mining practices in Zamfara and Niger states We will continue to ensure that the environment remains clean so that children will not get poisoned again says Alhaji Shehu Anka general director of ZESA Almost 12 years after MSF first started intervening in the area no more children are dying of lead poisoning in Zamfara As a result MSF started the handing over process of the program to key ministries of the Zamfara state government the Anka Emirate Council and the local community at the beginning of February 2022 and completed the handing over on 11th May with the official handing over ceremony Mwangombe says the significant decrease in the under fives mortality and morbidity related to lead toxicity is not the only success Another big achievement was that our intervention was community based The community has been involved throughout so that they could take ownership We also improved local capacity In the future if there is another outbreak there will be capacity to respond One of the key factors for the successful reduction of exposure to lead poisoning was the involvement of international organizations with expertise in environmental health safer mining and occupational health that complemented MSF s medical response However challenges remain Artisanal mining is a poverty driven activity that will persist as long as gold mining is profitable Recently another area with a high level of lead contamination was discovered in Abare village in Zamfara At the end of January 2022 the Zamfara state government approved the financing of the environmental remediation of the contaminated area For the long term sustainability of remedies and to prevent children from dying from lead poisoning again all partners need to remain committed to promoting and maintaining safe mining practices Prevention requires involvement from everyone from village chiefs and traditional leaders to state authorities and legislators so that everyone s efforts will help maintain the remedy that we have handed over and prevent any future outbreak of lead poisoning in Zamfara state says Mwangombe
    Nigeria: Prevention is key to stop children from dying of lead poisoning
    Health6 months ago

    Nigeria: Prevention is key to stop children from dying of lead poisoning

    Abuja 18.05.22- Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has handed over its lead poisoning project in Zamfara, northern Nigeria, to state authorities. Children are no longer dying of lead poisoning in the area, more than 11 years after environmental contamination caused the death of hundreds of children.In March 2010, MSF received an alert about a high number of child fatalities in Nigeria’s Zamfara state, where more than 400 children died within just six months in several villages. “When MSF arrived, we were suffering a lot,” remembers Alhaji Muhammadu Bello, head of Dareta village. “In my village, 120 children died. Six or seven were dying every day.”Laboratory tests later confirmed high levels of lead in the blood of survivors. The root cause of the poisoning was environmental contamination through unsafe, artisanal mining activities in the area, where gold deposits contain an unusually high concentration of lead. Lead can cause severe brain damage and death in children.“Artisanal mining had been going on for a decade in this area. People transformed the villages into processing sites and contaminated the environment for many years. Children were exposed to contaminated dust and soil in the villages”, says MSF project coordinator Benjamim Mwangombe.Before MSF could start treating patients, the contaminated areas needed to be remediated so that children would not be continually re-exposed to toxins. Between June 2010 and August 2013, TerraGraphics International Foundation, an environmental engineering organization, provided environmental management training to Zamfara state’s Environmental Sanitation Agency (ZESA). In partnership with the community, eight villages in Anka and Bukkuyum local government areas were remediated, by removing contaminated soils and mineral processing waste from residential areas, wells and ponds.Between May 2010 and December 2021, MSF screened 8,480 children under five for lead poisoning. More than 80 per cent of them were enrolled in a medical lead program, including 3,549 children who received lengthy chelation therapy to remove lead from their blood.Five years after the outbreak in Zamfara, another lead poisoning outbreak was discovered in two villages in Nigeria’s Niger state in April 2015. It was also caused by artisanal gold mining and resulted in the death of at least 30 children. MSF provided chelation treatment to 139 children shortly after remediation and handed over the project to Niger state authorities and traditional leaders in October 2018.Remediation and chelation therapy are not only very expensive, but also insufficient to eliminate the lead poisoning hazard in the communities. Due to the rampant poverty and lack of other employment opportunities in the area, small-scale mining remains the only option for many people. Many were unaware of the health hazards caused by their mining practices. Some previously remediated areas were re-contaminated.“We had children who were re-exposed more than three times. Even if their compound is clean, maybe they play on their uncle’s compound where the soil is contaminated,” says Mwangombe.The only sustainable long-term solution is the prevention of lead poisoning. MSF engaged OK International, an external partner specialized in occupational and industrial health, to develop and implement safer mining pilot projects in Niger and Zamfara states, in partnership with Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and the responsible state agencies.Miners were provided with information and tools to reduce exposure during mining and processing activities, and to minimize off-site contamination. The results of the pilot projects have been encouraging, and the state governments say they are committed to scaling up safer mining practices in Zamfara and Niger states. “We will continue to ensure that the environment remains clean, so that children will not get poisoned again,” says Alhaji Shehu Anka, general director of ZESA.Almost 12 years after MSF first started intervening in the area, no more children are dying of lead poisoning in Zamfara. As a result, MSF started the handing over process of the program to key ministries of the Zamfara state government, the Anka Emirate Council and the local community at the beginning of February 2022 and completed the handing over on 11th May with the official handing over ceremony.Mwangombe says the significant decrease in the under-fives mortality and morbidity related to lead toxicity is not the only success. “Another big achievement was that our intervention was community-based. The community has been involved throughout so that they could take ownership. We also improved local capacity. In the future, if there is another outbreak, there will be capacity to respond.”One of the key factors for the successful reduction of exposure to lead poisoning was the involvement of international organizations with expertise in environmental health, safer mining and occupational health that complemented MSF’s medical response.However, challenges remain. Artisanal mining is a poverty-driven activity that will persist as long as gold mining is profitable. Recently, another area with a high level of lead contamination was discovered in Abare village in Zamfara. At the end of January 2022, the Zamfara state government approved the financing of the environmental remediation of the contaminated area.For the long-term sustainability of remedies, and to prevent children from dying from lead poisoning again, all partners need to remain committed to promoting and maintaining safe mining practices.“Prevention requires involvement from everyone – from village chiefs and traditional leaders to state authorities and legislators, so that everyone’s efforts will help maintain the remedy that we have handed over and prevent any future outbreak of lead poisoning in Zamfara state”, says Mwangombe.

  •   An International Medical Non Governmental Organisation Medicine Sans Frontiers MSF has handed over the management of lead poisoning to the Zamfara State Government after 12 years of partnership with the state Speaking at the handover the Project Coordinator Dr Benjamin Janeiro on behalf of the Country Director expressed the organisation s appreciation to Gov Bello Matawalle s administration for showing political will since inception Janeiro said the commitment of government had contributed a lot to their successful round off of the project as scheduled He called on the state government to ensure close monitoring of the project and support it whenever the need arose to ensure sustainability The project coordinator promised that he would always be available for more contributions as might be required The State Acting Governor Sen Hassan Nasiha said the present administration would continue to recognise the 12 years old project embarked upon by Medicines Sans Frontiers MSF in the state since 2010 He assured the MSF officials that the structure put in place and other facilities provided for protection against the spread of lead poisoning in the local communities affected would be properly managed by the government to prevent waste of invested resources Nasiha announced the immediate constitution of a committee responsible for the management of lead poisoning activities in the state He thanked the NGO for partnering with the state government in the areas of enhancing healthcare service delivery and building the capacity of people for safer mining activities in the affected communities He also commended the hospitality accorded to MSF and other international organisations by the traditional ruler the Emir of Zamfara Alhaji Attahiru Ahmad by working towards controlling the dangers of lead poisoning A major outbreak of lead poisoning in children occurred in Zamfara State since at least March 2010 related to the processing of lead rich ore for the extraction of gold NAN
    NGO hands over lead poisoning management to Zamfara Govt.
      An International Medical Non Governmental Organisation Medicine Sans Frontiers MSF has handed over the management of lead poisoning to the Zamfara State Government after 12 years of partnership with the state Speaking at the handover the Project Coordinator Dr Benjamin Janeiro on behalf of the Country Director expressed the organisation s appreciation to Gov Bello Matawalle s administration for showing political will since inception Janeiro said the commitment of government had contributed a lot to their successful round off of the project as scheduled He called on the state government to ensure close monitoring of the project and support it whenever the need arose to ensure sustainability The project coordinator promised that he would always be available for more contributions as might be required The State Acting Governor Sen Hassan Nasiha said the present administration would continue to recognise the 12 years old project embarked upon by Medicines Sans Frontiers MSF in the state since 2010 He assured the MSF officials that the structure put in place and other facilities provided for protection against the spread of lead poisoning in the local communities affected would be properly managed by the government to prevent waste of invested resources Nasiha announced the immediate constitution of a committee responsible for the management of lead poisoning activities in the state He thanked the NGO for partnering with the state government in the areas of enhancing healthcare service delivery and building the capacity of people for safer mining activities in the affected communities He also commended the hospitality accorded to MSF and other international organisations by the traditional ruler the Emir of Zamfara Alhaji Attahiru Ahmad by working towards controlling the dangers of lead poisoning A major outbreak of lead poisoning in children occurred in Zamfara State since at least March 2010 related to the processing of lead rich ore for the extraction of gold NAN
    NGO hands over lead poisoning management to Zamfara Govt.
    General news7 months ago

    NGO hands over lead poisoning management to Zamfara Govt.

    An International Medical Non-Governmental Organisation, Medicine Sans Frontiers (MSF), has handed over the management of lead poisoning to the Zamfara State Government after 12 years of partnership with the state.

    Speaking at the handover, the Project Coordinator, Dr Benjamin Janeiro on behalf of the Country Director, expressed the organisation’s appreciation to Gov. Bello Matawalle’s administration for showing political will since inception.

    Janeiro said the commitment of government had contributed a lot to their successful round off of the project as scheduled.

    He called on the state government to ensure close monitoring of the project and support it whenever the need arose, to ensure sustainability.

    The project coordinator promised that he would always be available for more contributions as might be required.

    The State Acting Governor, Sen. Hassan Nasiha, said  the present administration would continue to recognise the 12 years old project embarked upon by Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) in the state since 2010.

    He assured the MSF officials that the structure put in place and other facilities provided for protection against the spread of lead poisoning in the local communities affected would be properly managed by the government to prevent waste of invested resources.

    Nasiha announced the immediate constitution of a committee responsible for the management of lead poisoning activities in the state.

    He thanked the NGO for partnering with the state government in the areas of enhancing healthcare service delivery and building the capacity of people for safer mining activities in the affected communities.

    He also commended the hospitality accorded to MSF and other international organisations by the traditional ruler, the Emir of Zamfara, Alhaji Attahiru Ahmad, by working towards controlling the dangers of lead poisoning.

    A major outbreak of lead poisoning in children occurred in Zamfara State, since at least March 2010, related to the processing of lead-rich ore for the extraction of gold.

    (NAN)

  •   The Ministry of Health wishes to inform the public that a cholera outbreak has been declared in Rubkona County Unity State The declaration follows the confirmation of cholera in eight cases following tests carried out by the National Public Health Laboratory in Juba To date a total of 31 cases including one death have been reported in Rubkona town and Bentiu IDP camp The confirmed cases presented with watery diarrhoea vomiting and dehydration and were admitted and treated at the MSF Bentiu PoC Hospital All cases have been discharged Following the confirmation of the initial case on April 14 2022 the Ministry of Health with the support of its partners deployed a rapid response team from April 22 29 2022 to investigate the causes and support the state level response Adequate supplies have been deployed to support the investigation and treatment of cases in Rubkona County In addition the Government with the support of its partners carried out two rounds of oral cholera vaccination in Rubkona County in January and March 2022 respectively The Ministry of Health and its partners are conducting an additional household and neighborhood case search to identify additional cases of cholera following a steady increase in cases of acute watery diarrhea reported in both Bentiu and Rubkona IDP camps as in the host community The public is urged not to panic but to remain calm and observe all precautionary measures to prevent community transmission and spread in populations with inadequate access to safe drinking water poor personal hygiene and inadequate access to sanitation facilities improved The Ministry of Health activated a national and state cholera task force on April 14 2022 to coordinate all response interventions increase surveillance in IDP camps and at the community level The risk of cholera is usually high during the rainy season which starts from May to the end of October Over the last two years the country has experienced devastating floods that have affected more than a million people mainly women and children and displaced them from their homes livelihoods and social services Given the congestion of displaced populations in upland areas and the contamination of drinking water sources in Unity State the humanitarian response has been intensified to avoid the catastrophic consequences of cholera flooding severe food insecurity COVID 19 and other crises The Ministry of Health will continue to work with partners to ensure that preparedness and response efforts are fully implemented and that the people of South Sudan are protected from cholera and would like to take this opportunity to encourage the public to continue to observe the following measures to prevent cholera and other diarrheal diseases Drink and use water that has been made safe after chlorinating or if it s scalding hot bring it to a full boil for at least 1 minute Always wash your hands with soap and water after using the latrine before handling and eating food Use latrines or bury your feces and do not defecate in any body of water Cook food well keep it covered eat it hot and peel fruits and vegetables Always wash fruits and vegetables well with clean water before eating Maintain a clean environment at home and in public places and dispose of liquid and solid waste safely The public is further urged to be vigilant and report all suspected cases of cholera to the National Outbreak Hotline 6666 or nearest health center County Health Department and or State Department of Health God bless you and God bless South Sudan
    Ministry of Health Statement on Declaration of Cholera Outbreak in Rubkona County, South Sudan
      The Ministry of Health wishes to inform the public that a cholera outbreak has been declared in Rubkona County Unity State The declaration follows the confirmation of cholera in eight cases following tests carried out by the National Public Health Laboratory in Juba To date a total of 31 cases including one death have been reported in Rubkona town and Bentiu IDP camp The confirmed cases presented with watery diarrhoea vomiting and dehydration and were admitted and treated at the MSF Bentiu PoC Hospital All cases have been discharged Following the confirmation of the initial case on April 14 2022 the Ministry of Health with the support of its partners deployed a rapid response team from April 22 29 2022 to investigate the causes and support the state level response Adequate supplies have been deployed to support the investigation and treatment of cases in Rubkona County In addition the Government with the support of its partners carried out two rounds of oral cholera vaccination in Rubkona County in January and March 2022 respectively The Ministry of Health and its partners are conducting an additional household and neighborhood case search to identify additional cases of cholera following a steady increase in cases of acute watery diarrhea reported in both Bentiu and Rubkona IDP camps as in the host community The public is urged not to panic but to remain calm and observe all precautionary measures to prevent community transmission and spread in populations with inadequate access to safe drinking water poor personal hygiene and inadequate access to sanitation facilities improved The Ministry of Health activated a national and state cholera task force on April 14 2022 to coordinate all response interventions increase surveillance in IDP camps and at the community level The risk of cholera is usually high during the rainy season which starts from May to the end of October Over the last two years the country has experienced devastating floods that have affected more than a million people mainly women and children and displaced them from their homes livelihoods and social services Given the congestion of displaced populations in upland areas and the contamination of drinking water sources in Unity State the humanitarian response has been intensified to avoid the catastrophic consequences of cholera flooding severe food insecurity COVID 19 and other crises The Ministry of Health will continue to work with partners to ensure that preparedness and response efforts are fully implemented and that the people of South Sudan are protected from cholera and would like to take this opportunity to encourage the public to continue to observe the following measures to prevent cholera and other diarrheal diseases Drink and use water that has been made safe after chlorinating or if it s scalding hot bring it to a full boil for at least 1 minute Always wash your hands with soap and water after using the latrine before handling and eating food Use latrines or bury your feces and do not defecate in any body of water Cook food well keep it covered eat it hot and peel fruits and vegetables Always wash fruits and vegetables well with clean water before eating Maintain a clean environment at home and in public places and dispose of liquid and solid waste safely The public is further urged to be vigilant and report all suspected cases of cholera to the National Outbreak Hotline 6666 or nearest health center County Health Department and or State Department of Health God bless you and God bless South Sudan
    Ministry of Health Statement on Declaration of Cholera Outbreak in Rubkona County, South Sudan
    Africa7 months ago

    Ministry of Health Statement on Declaration of Cholera Outbreak in Rubkona County, South Sudan

    The Ministry of Health wishes to inform the public that a cholera outbreak has been declared in Rubkona County, Unity State. The declaration follows the confirmation of cholera in eight cases following tests carried out by the National Public Health Laboratory in Juba. To date, a total of 31 cases, including one death, have been reported in Rubkona town and Bentiu IDP camp.

    The confirmed cases presented with watery diarrhoea, vomiting and dehydration and were admitted and treated at the MSF Bentiu PoC Hospital. All cases have been discharged.

    Following the confirmation of the initial case on April 14, 2022, the Ministry of Health, with the support of its partners, deployed a rapid response team from April 22-29, 2022 to investigate the causes and support the state-level response. . Adequate supplies have been deployed to support the investigation and treatment of cases in Rubkona County. In addition, the Government, with the support of its partners, carried out two rounds of oral cholera vaccination in Rubkona County in January and March 2022, respectively.

    The Ministry of Health and its partners are conducting an additional household and neighborhood case search to identify additional cases of cholera following a steady increase in cases of acute watery diarrhea reported in both Bentiu and Rubkona IDP camps. as in the host community.

    The public is urged not to panic, but to remain calm and observe all precautionary measures to prevent community transmission and spread in populations with inadequate access to safe drinking water, poor personal hygiene, and inadequate access to sanitation facilities. improved.

    The Ministry of Health activated a national and state cholera task force on April 14, 2022 to coordinate all response interventions, increase surveillance in IDP camps and at the community level.

    The risk of cholera is usually high during the rainy season which starts from May to the end of October. Over the last two years, the country has experienced devastating floods that have affected more than a million people, mainly women and children, and displaced them from their homes, livelihoods and social services.

    Given the congestion of displaced populations in upland areas and the contamination of drinking water sources in Unity State, the humanitarian response has been intensified to avoid the catastrophic consequences of cholera, flooding, severe food insecurity, COVID -19 and other crises.

    The Ministry of Health will continue to work with partners to ensure that preparedness and response efforts are fully implemented and that the people of South Sudan are protected from cholera and would like to take this opportunity to encourage the public to continue to observe the following measures to prevent cholera and other diarrheal diseases:

    Drink and use water that has been made safe after chlorinating or, if it's scalding hot, bring it to a full boil for at least 1 minute.

    Always wash your hands with soap and water after using the latrine, before handling and eating food.

    Use latrines or bury your feces and do not defecate in any body of water.

    Cook food well, keep it covered, eat it hot, and peel fruits and vegetables. Always wash fruits and vegetables well with clean water before eating.

    Maintain a clean environment at home and in public places and dispose of liquid and solid waste safely.

    The public is further urged to be vigilant and report all suspected cases of cholera to the National Outbreak Hotline 6666 or nearest health center, County Health Department and/or State Department of Health.

    God bless you and God bless South Sudan.

  •   The sun has shone almost every day since flash floods swept through the most populous urban areas of South Africa s KwaZulu Natal province on April 11 but for many people the suffering continues Much of the eThekwini township around the coastal city of Durban remains without water and sanitation and is at risk of deadly diseases with no indication of when these services will be restored What we are seeing now is a clean water supply crisis coupled with a sanitation and water treatment crisis creating the conditions for a possible medical crisis said Sean Christie coordinator of the M decins Sans Fronti res M decins emergency team Sans Fronti res MSF Over the past two weeks MSF teams have provided medical care and water and sanitation to more than 30 shelters housing thousands of people who have lost their homes Approximately 40 000 people have been made homeless by the floods To date MSF has installed more than 20 water tanks and 60 toilets in shelters that are often overcrowded and without toilets running water or electricity Gradually water and sanitation conditions in many shelters are improving but the situation is far from stable Living indoors without proper sanitation can fuel the spread of waterborne disease outbreaks The water truck didn t come today said shelter resident Nozipho Sithole We have food but the shelter s two large water tanks have been empty all day Not only we use the tanks the whole community is without water We are all thirsty While MSF has yet to see an unusually high number of gastrointestinal illnesses shelter residents are in dire need of medical care as the risk of waterborne and airborne diseases is high In communities where clean water supply and sanitation have collapsed there is a high risk of health problems such as acute watery diarrhea cholera hepatitis typhoid fever and skin or eye infections said Nothando Nkosi an MSF nurse who works with a mobile health unit that currently runs shelters South Africa is also entering the fifth wave of COVID 19 infections with large numbers of people in shelters showing cold and flu symptoms more than 20 per cent of all cases we have seen for two days in a row There is no social distancing or mask wearing inside these shelters and very few people have been vaccinated It s worrying Two MSF medical teams are supporting the Department of Health and eThekwini Health s shelter outreach response Each team is made up of a doctor nurses a registered counselor and two community health workers who provide disease prevention information to shelter residents and members of the surrounding communities Community engagement around disease prevention and the availability of services in shelters is going to be vital as many people who lost their homes and livelihoods are still in the community and staying with friends and family said Dr Manivasan Thandrayen leader of the MSF medical team Many people are traumatized and heartbroken and have lost everything in the floods including medication for chronic conditions Sitting on a small retaining wall outside the Ntuzuma A shelter surrounded by blue plumb bushes Nozipho said she hopes she can go back to sleep We saw a lot of people die that night and my 10 year old son and I haven t slept My 74 year old mother does not sleep because she keeps hearing the cries of our friends and neighbors during flash floods To cope Nozipho said residents sing songs late into the night It s how we deal with loss living conditions and the fact that we have to fight for something as simple as water every day Sleep deprivation and flashbacks crop up regularly in the sessions MSF counselors have been conducting with shelter residents Body aches muscle aches headaches and episodes of confusion are also frequently reported Every time it starts to rain the fear is really intense and some of the children try to run away and hide fearing that the same thing will happen again said Nadia van der Walt an MSF counselor People are overwhelmed by the work it will take to rebuild their lives But no one I ve talked to has said that they feel hopeless in the sense of having lost the will to live and that s extremely encouraging
    South Africa: Survivors of severe flash floods are in urgent need of water, aid
      The sun has shone almost every day since flash floods swept through the most populous urban areas of South Africa s KwaZulu Natal province on April 11 but for many people the suffering continues Much of the eThekwini township around the coastal city of Durban remains without water and sanitation and is at risk of deadly diseases with no indication of when these services will be restored What we are seeing now is a clean water supply crisis coupled with a sanitation and water treatment crisis creating the conditions for a possible medical crisis said Sean Christie coordinator of the M decins Sans Fronti res M decins emergency team Sans Fronti res MSF Over the past two weeks MSF teams have provided medical care and water and sanitation to more than 30 shelters housing thousands of people who have lost their homes Approximately 40 000 people have been made homeless by the floods To date MSF has installed more than 20 water tanks and 60 toilets in shelters that are often overcrowded and without toilets running water or electricity Gradually water and sanitation conditions in many shelters are improving but the situation is far from stable Living indoors without proper sanitation can fuel the spread of waterborne disease outbreaks The water truck didn t come today said shelter resident Nozipho Sithole We have food but the shelter s two large water tanks have been empty all day Not only we use the tanks the whole community is without water We are all thirsty While MSF has yet to see an unusually high number of gastrointestinal illnesses shelter residents are in dire need of medical care as the risk of waterborne and airborne diseases is high In communities where clean water supply and sanitation have collapsed there is a high risk of health problems such as acute watery diarrhea cholera hepatitis typhoid fever and skin or eye infections said Nothando Nkosi an MSF nurse who works with a mobile health unit that currently runs shelters South Africa is also entering the fifth wave of COVID 19 infections with large numbers of people in shelters showing cold and flu symptoms more than 20 per cent of all cases we have seen for two days in a row There is no social distancing or mask wearing inside these shelters and very few people have been vaccinated It s worrying Two MSF medical teams are supporting the Department of Health and eThekwini Health s shelter outreach response Each team is made up of a doctor nurses a registered counselor and two community health workers who provide disease prevention information to shelter residents and members of the surrounding communities Community engagement around disease prevention and the availability of services in shelters is going to be vital as many people who lost their homes and livelihoods are still in the community and staying with friends and family said Dr Manivasan Thandrayen leader of the MSF medical team Many people are traumatized and heartbroken and have lost everything in the floods including medication for chronic conditions Sitting on a small retaining wall outside the Ntuzuma A shelter surrounded by blue plumb bushes Nozipho said she hopes she can go back to sleep We saw a lot of people die that night and my 10 year old son and I haven t slept My 74 year old mother does not sleep because she keeps hearing the cries of our friends and neighbors during flash floods To cope Nozipho said residents sing songs late into the night It s how we deal with loss living conditions and the fact that we have to fight for something as simple as water every day Sleep deprivation and flashbacks crop up regularly in the sessions MSF counselors have been conducting with shelter residents Body aches muscle aches headaches and episodes of confusion are also frequently reported Every time it starts to rain the fear is really intense and some of the children try to run away and hide fearing that the same thing will happen again said Nadia van der Walt an MSF counselor People are overwhelmed by the work it will take to rebuild their lives But no one I ve talked to has said that they feel hopeless in the sense of having lost the will to live and that s extremely encouraging
    South Africa: Survivors of severe flash floods are in urgent need of water, aid
    Africa7 months ago

    South Africa: Survivors of severe flash floods are in urgent need of water, aid

    The sun has shone almost every day since flash floods swept through the most populous urban areas of South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province on April 11, but for many people the suffering continues. Much of the eThekwini township around the coastal city of Durban remains without water and sanitation and is at risk of deadly diseases, with no indication of when these services will be restored.

    “What we are seeing now is a clean water supply crisis coupled with a sanitation and water treatment crisis, creating the conditions for a possible medical crisis,” said Sean Christie, coordinator of the Médecins Sans Frontières/Médecins emergency team. Sans Frontières (MSF). Over the past two weeks, MSF teams have provided medical care and water and sanitation to more than 30 shelters housing thousands of people who have lost their homes. Approximately 40,000 people have been made homeless by the floods.

    To date, MSF has installed more than 20 water tanks and 60 toilets in shelters that are often overcrowded and without toilets, running water or electricity. Gradually, water and sanitation conditions in many shelters are improving, but the situation is far from stable. Living indoors without proper sanitation can fuel the spread of waterborne disease outbreaks.

    “The water truck didn't come today,” said shelter resident Nozipho Sithole. “We have food, but the shelter's two large water tanks have been empty all day. Not only we use the tanks, the whole community is without water. We are all thirsty.

    While MSF has yet to see an unusually high number of gastrointestinal illnesses, shelter residents are in dire need of medical care as the risk of waterborne and airborne diseases is high.

    “In communities where clean water supply and sanitation have collapsed, there is a high risk of health problems, such as acute watery diarrhea, cholera, hepatitis, typhoid fever, and skin or eye infections,” said Nothando Nkosi, an MSF nurse who works with a mobile health unit that currently runs shelters. “South Africa is also entering the fifth wave of COVID-19 infections, with large numbers of people in shelters showing cold and flu symptoms, more than 20 per cent of all cases we have seen for two days in a row. There is no social distancing or mask wearing inside these shelters, and very few people have been vaccinated. It's worrying.

    Two MSF medical teams are supporting the Department of Health and eThekwini Health's shelter outreach response. Each team is made up of a doctor, nurses, a registered counselor and two community health workers who provide disease prevention information to shelter residents and members of the surrounding communities.

    “Community engagement around disease prevention and the availability of services in shelters is going to be vital as many people who lost their homes and livelihoods are still in the community and staying with friends and family. ”, said Dr. Manivasan Thandrayen, leader of the MSF medical team. . "Many people are traumatized and heartbroken and have lost everything in the floods, including medication for chronic conditions."

    Sitting on a small retaining wall outside the Ntuzuma “A” shelter, surrounded by blue plumb bushes, Nozipho said she hopes she can go back to sleep. “We saw a lot of people die that night, and my 10-year-old son and I haven't slept. My 74-year-old mother does not sleep because she keeps hearing the cries of our friends and neighbors during flash floods.” To cope, Nozipho said residents sing songs late into the night. "It's how we deal with loss, living conditions and the fact that we have to fight for something as simple as water every day."

    Sleep deprivation and flashbacks crop up regularly in the sessions MSF counselors have been conducting with shelter residents. Body aches, muscle aches, headaches, and episodes of confusion are also frequently reported.

    “Every time it starts to rain, the fear is really intense, and some of the children try to run away and hide, fearing that the same thing will happen again,” said Nadia van der Walt, an MSF counselor. “People are overwhelmed by the work it will take to rebuild their lives. But no one I've talked to has said that they feel hopeless, in the sense of having lost the will to live, and that's extremely encouraging."

  •   Tens of thousands of people have fled to Twic County in South Sudan where they have settled in displacement sites lacking basic necessities The humanitarian needs of these people will continue to grow as the rainy season approaches MSF calls on the humanitarian community in South Sudan to increase their support and meet the needs of displaced people in Twic County After fleeing their homes more than two months ago tens of thousands of people remain without basic needs in Twic County South Sudan Despite repeated calls by M decins Sans Fronti res MSF the humanitarian community in South Sudan has failed to increase assistance to people who have largely been left without food shelter and sanitation Following violent intercommunal clashes in and around Agok in Abyei Special Administrative Area in early February residents fled north to Abyei town and south to Twic county in Warrap state in South Sudan In the six locations in Twic County where MSF is currently responding there are around 33 000 displaced people the majority of whom are women and young children Most people have settled in the open and many still lack basic items such as shelter food and clean water The situation in the camps for displaced people is dire says Susana Borges MSF head of mission in South Sudan People live in makeshift shelters made of sticks and cloth Parents are literally ripping leaves off trees and cooking them to feed their children due to lack of food says Borges We are doing everything we can to respond but more help is needed from other organizations to deal with the magnitude of this crisis Despite the critical needs humanitarian organizations have failed to respond quickly and adequately resulting in appalling living conditions in the camps Over the last two months MSF has provided 374 metric tons of food and an average of 14 liters of drinking water per person per day in the different locations We have also built 135 latrines and distributed basic necessities such as blankets mosquito nets jerrycans and soap to some ten thousand families MSF teams have been running mobile clinics in three sites where displaced people are sheltering The health conditions of patients presenting at our mobile clinics are closely related to poor living conditions and limited access to food The lack of shelter latrines and mosquito nets puts people at risk of diseases such as malaria and cholera With the rainy season about to start the health situation is likely to deteriorate further if the humanitarian response is not stepped up immediately The rain is almost here and people have little children with them If it rains now they have no houses to go to says Atem a father of two young children who lives in an IDP camp after fleeing his home in Agok People are really suffering They need housing support They need support for food It seems unlikely that people will return home any time soon for fear of more violence I have seen people who have been shot innocent people people like me They attackers they ransacked my house and ransacked my store says Atem How can I think of going back again It is better for me to suffer here Displaced people in Twic County will need continued support during the upcoming rainy season to ensure decent living conditions and the provision of adequate food and drinking water Sustained humanitarian action is needed from the humanitarian community in South Sudan to help people who are extremely vulnerable after months of neglect
    Humanitarian assistance must increase for displaced people in Twic County
      Tens of thousands of people have fled to Twic County in South Sudan where they have settled in displacement sites lacking basic necessities The humanitarian needs of these people will continue to grow as the rainy season approaches MSF calls on the humanitarian community in South Sudan to increase their support and meet the needs of displaced people in Twic County After fleeing their homes more than two months ago tens of thousands of people remain without basic needs in Twic County South Sudan Despite repeated calls by M decins Sans Fronti res MSF the humanitarian community in South Sudan has failed to increase assistance to people who have largely been left without food shelter and sanitation Following violent intercommunal clashes in and around Agok in Abyei Special Administrative Area in early February residents fled north to Abyei town and south to Twic county in Warrap state in South Sudan In the six locations in Twic County where MSF is currently responding there are around 33 000 displaced people the majority of whom are women and young children Most people have settled in the open and many still lack basic items such as shelter food and clean water The situation in the camps for displaced people is dire says Susana Borges MSF head of mission in South Sudan People live in makeshift shelters made of sticks and cloth Parents are literally ripping leaves off trees and cooking them to feed their children due to lack of food says Borges We are doing everything we can to respond but more help is needed from other organizations to deal with the magnitude of this crisis Despite the critical needs humanitarian organizations have failed to respond quickly and adequately resulting in appalling living conditions in the camps Over the last two months MSF has provided 374 metric tons of food and an average of 14 liters of drinking water per person per day in the different locations We have also built 135 latrines and distributed basic necessities such as blankets mosquito nets jerrycans and soap to some ten thousand families MSF teams have been running mobile clinics in three sites where displaced people are sheltering The health conditions of patients presenting at our mobile clinics are closely related to poor living conditions and limited access to food The lack of shelter latrines and mosquito nets puts people at risk of diseases such as malaria and cholera With the rainy season about to start the health situation is likely to deteriorate further if the humanitarian response is not stepped up immediately The rain is almost here and people have little children with them If it rains now they have no houses to go to says Atem a father of two young children who lives in an IDP camp after fleeing his home in Agok People are really suffering They need housing support They need support for food It seems unlikely that people will return home any time soon for fear of more violence I have seen people who have been shot innocent people people like me They attackers they ransacked my house and ransacked my store says Atem How can I think of going back again It is better for me to suffer here Displaced people in Twic County will need continued support during the upcoming rainy season to ensure decent living conditions and the provision of adequate food and drinking water Sustained humanitarian action is needed from the humanitarian community in South Sudan to help people who are extremely vulnerable after months of neglect
    Humanitarian assistance must increase for displaced people in Twic County
    Africa7 months ago

    Humanitarian assistance must increase for displaced people in Twic County

    Tens of thousands of people have fled to Twic County in South Sudan, where they have settled in displacement sites lacking basic necessities; The humanitarian needs of these people will continue to grow as the rainy season approaches; MSF calls on the humanitarian community in South Sudan to increase their support and meet the needs of displaced people in Twic County.

    After fleeing their homes more than two months ago, tens of thousands of people remain without basic needs in Twic County, South Sudan. Despite repeated calls by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the humanitarian community in South Sudan has failed to increase assistance to people who have largely been left without food, shelter and sanitation.

    Following violent intercommunal clashes in and around Agok in Abyei Special Administrative Area in early February, residents fled north to Abyei town and south to Twic county in Warrap state, in South Sudan.

    In the six locations in Twic County where MSF is currently responding, there are around 33,000 displaced people, the majority of whom are women and young children. Most people have settled in the open, and many still lack basic items such as shelter, food and clean water.

    "The situation in the camps for displaced people is dire," says Susana Borges, MSF head of mission in South Sudan. "People live in makeshift shelters made of sticks and cloth."

    “Parents are literally ripping leaves off trees and cooking them to feed their children due to lack of food,” says Borges. “We are doing everything we can to respond, but more help is needed from other organizations to deal with the magnitude of this crisis. ”

    Despite the critical needs, humanitarian organizations have failed to respond quickly and adequately, resulting in appalling living conditions in the camps.

    Over the last two months, MSF has provided 374 metric tons of food and an average of 14 liters of drinking water per person per day in the different locations. We have also built 135 latrines and distributed basic necessities such as blankets, mosquito nets, jerrycans and soap to some ten thousand families.

    MSF teams have been running mobile clinics in three sites where displaced people are sheltering. The health conditions of patients presenting at our mobile clinics are closely related to poor living conditions and limited access to food. The lack of shelter, latrines and mosquito nets puts people at risk of diseases such as malaria and cholera.

    With the rainy season about to start, the health situation is likely to deteriorate further if the humanitarian response is not stepped up immediately.

    “The rain is almost here, and people have little children with them. If it rains now, they have no houses to go to,” says Atem, a father of two young children who lives in an IDP camp after fleeing his home in Agok. “People are really suffering. They need housing support; They need support for food.”

    It seems unlikely that people will return home any time soon, for fear of more violence.

    “I have seen people who have been shot, innocent people, people like me. They [attackers] they ransacked my house and ransacked my store,” says Atem. “How can I think of going back again? It is better for me to suffer here.”

    Displaced people in Twic County will need continued support during the upcoming rainy season to ensure decent living conditions and the provision of adequate food and drinking water. Sustained humanitarian action is needed from the humanitarian community in South Sudan to help people who are extremely vulnerable after months of neglect.

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