Nigeria: Millions Of Displaced People Remain In Limbo

In northeast Nigeria, the ongoing conflict between the Nigerian government and the US-designated terrorist group Boko Haram has left close to 1.8 million people displaced.

 

Everyday routines such as community markets and food supply chains have been severely affected by the instability, leaving many families starving and without access to food. This has caused a spike in the reported cases of malnutrition. Doctors of the World has been working in Nigeria since 2007, and is currently responding to the ongoing food insecurity that is affecting displaced communities in Borno state.

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Borno state has the highest numbers of internally displaced people (IDPs) in the region, with an estimated 1.5 million people currently displaced there. The vast majority of the people we treat are those fleeing fierce fighting in the north. At the onset of the crisis, our first clinics in the region opened in Garba Buzu and Kawarmella camps in October 2016. We also sent 10 tons of medical supplies and medicine to the area. Currently we are active in Kawarmella camp with a population of roughly 3,000 people, Emiskin camp where around 9,000 people are currently living, and Garba Buzu camp where 3,500 people reside.

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In each IDP camp we operate a clinic that is staffed by male and female clinicians, midwives, pharmacists, several nurses, registrars and employees to ensure crowd control. On average we treat 100-150 people a day at each clinic, with the majority of our patients being pregnant women and their children. We focus on providing antenatal care, family planning children’s healthy development. We also work closely with the Nigerian authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO) to host immunization campaigns for children.

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Each DotW-supported clinic in these IDP camps begins the day with a health and hygiene information session for anyone in the community who wishes to attend. We also have Community Mobilizers who go house to house providing health education. If they encounter someone who is unwell and has not yet visited the clinic, our mobilizers provide them with support and encourage them to get in touch with a member of our staff or to visit the clinic.

Although there has been an increase in humanitarian assistance to Borno state, the situation is far from secure. Many families remain in limbo, unable to return to their villages, concerned about where they will find their next meal, and uncertain as to what the next day will bring.