Nigeria: MSF Calls for Inclusion of North-West in UN’s Humanitarian Plan

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) also known as Doctors Without Borders has called for the inclusion of North-west Nigeria in the United Nations’ Humanitarian Plan, insisting that this would enable a broader and more sustained response in the region which has been bedevilled by banditry.

The North-east, a region which has been under the shackles of Boko Haram insurgency for over a decade, is already on the UN’s Humanitarian Plan, making it to benefit yearly several millions of dollars in aids.

In a statement on Tuesday by MSF, it said: “As the malnutrition crisis in North-west Nigeria continues at catastrophic levels, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is calling for the humanitarian community to respond to the emergency needs of people in the region, and for North-west Nigeria to be included in the UN’s humanitarian response plan, enabling a broader and more sustained response.

“Since the beginning of 2022, MSF teams have witnessed extraordinarily high numbers of children with malnutrition in MSF’s programmes located in five states across North-west Nigeria. Multiple factors have led to a sharp increase in malnutrition in the region over last year.”

The MSF country representative in Nigeria, Dr. Simba Tirima, was quoted to have said: “With increasing insecurity, climate change and global inflation of food prices in a post-pandemic world, we can only imagine this crisis getting worse.

“The Nigerian authorities need support to deal with a crisis of this magnitude. This must include emergency humanitarian funding now for organisations able to respond and a commitment to include North-west Nigeria in the UN’s humanitarian response plan for 2023.”

He revealed that since January, MSF teams working in collaboration with the Nigerian health authorities have treated close to 100,000 children suffering from acute malnutrition in 34 outpatient facilities and admitted about 17,000 children requiring hospital care in 10 inpatient centres in Kano, Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto and Kebbi States.

He noted that in Zamfara State, one of the areas most affected by ongoing violence and banditry, “we recorded a 64 per cent increase in the numbers of severely malnourished children treated in the outpatient nutritional departments supported by MSF from January to August 2022 when compared to January to August 2021”.

According to the statement, the MSF’s nutritional surveys have also underlined the severity of the crisis, including in areas that are less affected by violence and insecurity.

In Mashi Local Government Area in Katsina State, MSF found a 27,4% rate of global acute malnutrition and a 7.1% rate of severe acute malnutrition in June, even though the community has been relatively spared from violence and forced displacement. These rates indicate a critical emergency.

The statement added that the UN’s current humanitarian response plan for Nigeria focuses on the critical situation in the country’s North-east region, excluding the North-west.

Unlike MSF, which is not funded by the humanitarian response plan, many organisations are currently unable to respond to the acute needs in the North-west because they rely on it for funding.

The MSF Head of Mission in Nigeria, Froukje Pelsma, said: “We understand the United Nations, donors and other stakeholders are increasingly aware of the extent of the crisis in the North-west, but there is a need to go beyond discussions.

“It’s essential that the North-west is included in the next Nigeria humanitarian response plan for 2023, because this plays a key role in mobilising the resources to save lives.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *