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MSF Raises Alarm Over Malnutrition Crises, Calls For  Urgent Humanitarian Intervention

By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja

MSF Country Representative in Nigeria Dr. Simba Tirima, has raised the alarm over the alarming number of children being treated for malnutrition in North West Nigeria in 2022 only.

This is even as he informs that the scale of this crisis demands national and international mobilization for an adequate humanitarian response.

In a flashpoint statement, Dr Tirima said “The past few months have been incredibly difficult for the people of northwest Nigeria and our teams have seen unprecedentedly high numbers of malnourished children in the medical facilities where we work in partnership with the Ministry of health.

In his words “This year alone, we have treated more than 140,000 children for acute malnutrition in Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi and Kano states.

“In Zamfara state, the admissions of children with severe acute malnutrition to our ambulatory therapeutic feeding centres are 39 percent higher than last year. In Katsina state, the figures have skyrocketed to almost 80,000 children treated for severe acute malnutrition while 12,700 of them required inpatient care.

We see children dying on the way to our clinics. We see children whose medical condition is so severe that we can’t do anything to save them.

Blaming the rising crises on the escalating security situation in the region, Dr Tirima said “Escalating violence, displacement, soaring food prices, epidemics, and climate change are the factors triggering this alarming health and malnutrition crisis”.

Amaka Joseph, 35, prepares a therapeutic meal for her children at an ITFC facility at Specialist Hospital Sokoto, Nigeria on Friday 22 July 2022 “When we began treatment, I started seeing improvement. Now they can eat well and play and this makes me happy” she said. She would leave her children in the care of her mother when she goes to her shop, so she suspects that maybe the hygiene of the children has not been up to par. “Now, I will take care of everything that has to do with these children, their food, their water, and environment, I will make sure that everywhere is clean,” says Amaka.

“The northwest continues to be largely ignored in the overall UN-led humanitarian response and plans in Nigeria, which focus on the plight of the northeast of the country. Ensuring greater access to lifesaving nutritional treatment for the thousands of people who need it now and during the next lean season is essential if we are to avoid 2023 becoming another devastating year for children in northwest Nigeria”

He further called on other organisations to join in and support the authorities in meeting the most urgent needs of the affected communities

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