Humanitarian agencies and governments estimate that 33.2 million people are dealing with the devastating effects of armed conflict, insecurity, food insecurity and displacement in the Sahel.
The funds will help provide crucial health services to populations living in camps and displacement sites, as well as to people affected by disease outbreaks in six countries in the region. In Burkina Faso, around 500,000 people have been displaced by armed violence in 2021. In Mali, a quarter of health services remain interrupted due to the impact of COVID-19. Cameroon is dealing with a cholera outbreak, while Chad is facing a yellow fever outbreak.
WHO will work to improve treatment of malnutrition in Burkina Faso; strengthen cholera diagnoses in Cameroon; provide essential services to 100,000 people in Chad; deploy psychologists in the 10 regions of Mali; equip and train four outbreak response teams in Niger; and restoring services to two hospitals in northeastern Nigeria, serving some 300,000 people.
“Armed conflicts and the worsening impacts of climate change are placing untold hardships on millions of children, women, families and even entire communities across the Sahel. We are committed to providing crucial health assistance to affected populations and helping to alleviate the profound deprivation they face,” said Dr. Abdou Salam Gueye, Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response at the WHO Regional Office for Africa.
Health indicators in the Sahel are among the worst in the world. The region has some of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world at 856 deaths per 100,000 live births due to poor access to maternal and reproductive health care, as well as a high prevalence of early marriage.
Armed attacks on civilians and public infrastructure, including health facilities and schools, droughts, land degradation and unpredictable weather are exacerbating the plight of millions of people in the Sahel.
Conflict and insecurity are a major obstacle to the provision of humanitarian assistance. These challenges prevent WHO teams and partners from delivering essential medicines, engaging communities in public health programs such as water and sanitation services, mosquito net distribution and basic childhood immunizations.
Despite the dire needs and urgency of providing assistance to millions of people in need in Burkina Faso, northern Cameroon, Chad, northeastern Nigeria, Mali and Niger, only half of the US$3.7 billion needed to provide vital assistance in the region was received in 2021.