MSF Launches Children’s Health Intervention in Kebbi

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Michael Olugbode in Abuja

The medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières has launched a new children’s health intervention in Kebbi state.

This was in response to the high level of infant mortality driven by easily treatable diseases and high levels of malnutrition during the hunger gap period.

A statement yesterday quoted MSF Head of Mission in Nigeria, Shaukat Muttaqi, to have said: “Infant mortality rates in Kebbi State are driven to a significant extent by malnutrition during the annual hunger gap and by high incidence of easily treatable childhood diseases.”

He added that: “Our aim, together with the Kebbi Ministry of Health, is to prevent young children from dying by ensuring early access to treatment for the most common and deadly diseases and ensuring timely availability of treatment for malnutrition.”

According to the statement, in Kebbi State, childhood mortality was found to be significantly above the national average in the Nigerian Demographic and Health Survey in 2018. As in many other contexts, malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea and malnutrition are among the key contributors to childhood mortality.

The statement added that additional health threats, including recent outbreaks of both measles and cholera, and limited access to healthcare further exacerbated the vulnerability of children, noting that providing early access to medical care, MSF and the Ministry of Health aims at significantly reduce overall infant mortality in the project area.

 The statement further said as part of the initial project plan, MSF has opened a 10-bed inpatient malnutrition stabilisation centre, and two outpatient therapeutic feeding programs in Karaye and Maiyama, disclosing that the first patients have already begun to receive treatment, with ITFC 17 patients hospitalised in total, 10 discharged and enrolled in ATFC for severe malnutrition and 72 patients enrolled in the outpatient feeding programme the weeks of March 13th to 29th and in the coming weeks, MSF will add a community-based healthcare programme for malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea. 

Commenting on the feat, Kebbi State Commissioner for Health,  Jaafar Mohammed said: “This is going to create a quality relationship in terms of strengthening the delivery of healthcare to have better outcomes and quality of care for our patients.

“We want to appreciate this partnership which we expect will lead to better outcomes and good progress toward our shared objectives to improve the health and nutrition status of our communities.”