After the declaration of nutritional emergency in the Borno, by the Honorable Minister of Health, a team was put together to commence the response activities towards tackling the humanitarian crisis definitively. The first set of responders are currently on the ground in Borno and have commenced a rapid assessment of the situation which will guide immediate response.
On Friday 22nd July, 2016, the first joint press briefing was held in Maiduguri, Borno State, where the National Coordinator/CEO of the NCDC and the Commissioner of Health of Borno shared some of the provisional findings and plans of the response.
The full text of the press briefing can be found below:
Ladies and Gentlemen of the press.
You will all recall that a High Level Emergency Round-Table meeting on Malnutrition Crisis in Borno was held at the end of June, 2016, in Abuja. This meeting had the Executive Governor of Borno, H.E. Alhaji Hon. Kashim Shetima, the Hon. Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Folorunsho Adewole, Heads of all major partners and some NGOs, including the Head UN Humanitarian Coordination in attendance.
The meeting recognized the Health and Humanitarian crisis in Borno and recommended, among others the immediate need to reach 750,000 persons affected (children and adults, including pregnant women) within the next three months with food/nutrition and Health interventions, because of the high prevalence of severe acute malnutrition recorded in Borno. The meeting recognized that except this done urgently, at least 5 children will die every hour and the impact on the health status of the population will be high.
It was agreed that the figure currently being released by the emergency teams on ground could be representing just a tip of the iceberg and thus to prevent disaster and mitigate the impact of this dire situation a long term multi-sectoral collaboration, integrated approach and coordinated response is required. The findings from the affected areas have confirmed that about 2.4 million IDPs are currently in the North-east and about 2 million (83%) of this are in Borno and only 9% of this are in IDP camps and 90% in host communities. Nearly half of the Health facilities are either destroyed or looted.
A Technical Working Group formed by the meeting drew up a response plan which cost about $390 million to address the crisis and mitigate its impact. The Technical Group also identified areas of immediate intervention and recommended immediate deployment of the response teams in the following areas: food and nutrition, immunization, out-patient care, in-patient care, reproductive health care, psycho-social and mental health care, potable waste supply and sanitation.
The Honorable Minister of Health established a Rapid Response Team headed by Dr. Joshua Obasanya and deployed the team to Borno to kick start the emergency response activities in collaboration with the Borno State Ministry of Health.
Additionally, the recent upsurge in military operations had made it possible for a large number of previously trapped populations to be rescued and brought to safe places in IDP camps and host communities. These persons with a wide variety of problems, including health challenges, such as malnutrition, diarrheal diseases, measles, chronic diseases, trauma and psycho-social conditions. There were persons who were out of reach to any service in the past, including health and other basic human needs for up to 5 years in some cases and are now contributing to the number of those in need of the emergency services. There are 2 satellite camps spread all over 8 LGAs that include Bama,Dikwa, Monguno, Kukawa, Gwoza, Damboa, Mafa, Ngala and even a spillover into Niger Republic.
In light of the above, the Federal Government in stepping-in to support the on-going efforts of Borno state and partner agencies to effectively and efficiently address this response through enhanced and effective coordination, collaboration and resource mobilization. The approach to this response shall; henceforth be based on a One-Emergency, One-Plan, One-Response to which all partners will to buy-in in order to better address the situation effectively. To this end a Health sector Response Group have been formed comprising the Federal, State and Health partners and Representatives of various NGOs. The group has moved into action and has developed a clearly defined command structure that has the Honorable Commissioner of Health and Head of the Federal RRT as co-Chairs. The group shall be reporting to the Chairman of the Central Coordinating Responses (the SSG) in the State and to the Minister of Health at the Federal Level.
The Health sector team, partners and the FMOH have already started mobilizing resources to kick-start the operation and will continue doing this as the need arise.
To make the response even more coordinated, it is important that henceforth information related to this response should emanate from the office of the Hon. Commissioner of Health Borno State who is working hand-in-hand with his counterpart in Ministry of Information who handles all information from the central coordination, headed by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG).
To conclude, may I, on behalf of H.E. the Executive Governor of Borno State and the Hon. Minister of Health call on All stakeholders in the Health Sector response to key-in into this new multi-sectoral coordinated approach for effective service delivery and contribute maximally towards attaining our set objectives. I have little or no doubt that this approach will enable us reach our targets within a reasonable period, as directed by our principals.
Finally, may I invite various communities and the press to contribute in our efforts to mobilize the people, manpower and resources to overcome this challenge.
Thank you for your attention.
Dr. Haruna Mshelia
Hon. Commissioner of Health
Borno State Ministry of Health
Prof. Abulsalami Nasidi, OON
Nigeria Center for Disease Control