WHO: Over 40,000 Children Risk Dying in North-east

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Daji Sani in Yola

More than 40,000 children are at the risk of dying in the North-east due to the combined threats of acute malnutrition and medical complications arising from high prevalence of malaria, the World Health Organisation (WHO), has said.

In its annual report for 2018 released yesterday to journalists at a workshop on health emergency response in Yola, Adamawa State, WHO explained that the destruction of many health facilities and the killing of several health workers in the region by the Boko Haram insurgents have made response to health emergency cases difficult .

WHO stated that the frequent movement of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) due to the unending crisis in the region has made the region stands a high risk of a repeat of outbreaks of diseases such as malaria, cholera, measles and meningitis, among the IDPs.

“With attacks on healthcare facilities and staff, access impediments due to insecurity and difficult terrains, the affected population remain at high risk of epidemic-prone diseases like cholera, measles, meningitis and viral hemorrhagic fevers such as Lassa fever and yellow fever,” WHO said.

It added that malaria, acute respiratory infections and diarrhoea are the three leading causes of illness among the IDPs, especially women and children along with high level of severe acute malnutrition.

The health organisation appealed for more healthcare facilities and health workers to straighten the health system to aid prompt response to health emergency cases in the region.

WHO recommended the training and retraining of response team, sensitisation of people on personal hygiene, and adequate surveillance to areas prone to outbreaks, as well as public health information on prevention, which includes vaccination and immunisation.

WHO also highlighted its major achievements in 2018, adding that more than 2.5 million children were offered routine immunisation by mobile health teams, two million IDPs vaccinated against yellow fever, and more than 1.3 million provided with integrated healthcare intervention, including routine immunisation, ante-natal care and treatment of minor ailments in hard-to-reach areas.

The world body also said one million protected against cholera in Kukawa, Bade in Yobe State, as well as in Mubi North and South, and Mahia Local Government Areas in Adamawa State.

“More than 748,000 children de-wormed and supplemented with vitamin A across Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, over 640,000 mothers and caregivers reached with key messages on infant and young child feeding (lYCF),” the report added.

WHO said it also treated 216,000 children for malaria, cough, pneumonia and diarrhea by 1,120 Community Resource Persons (CORPs), special intervention team reached 150,000 children with routine immunisations and 28,000 pregnant women reached with free HIV testing and Counselling Service (HTS) in Yobe State.

WHO also said that more than 21,000 beneficiaries have been provided with mental health services for the first time at the primary health care facilities in Borno State alone.