Nigeria: Over 3.7 Million People Require Healthcare in North-East – WHO
Over 3.7 million people from four states of the North East require serious medical attention even as most of them are based in areas with security challenges where healthcare facilities have either been destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents or the health workers kidnapped or killed.
The acting country representative of World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Rex Mpazanje who made the remarks, listed the states as Borno, Adamawa, Yobe and Gombe, saying one of the most immediate responses for WHO in the emergency was the setting up of Early Warning Alert and Response System (EWARS) to detect and facilitate rapid response to suspected disease outbreaks in internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps and host communities in the four states. Speaking at the end of a training session for health workers in Monguno, Dr Mpazanje said, “WHO has so far trained 33 Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers (DSNOs) and assistant DSNOs, 50 surveillance officers and camp coordinators from targeted health facilities in Maiduguri, Borno state and will train more health personnel in other states.” He said the aim of EWARS was to strengthen and expand the existing national Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) system in an effort to reduce the number of cases and deaths due to epidemic-prone diseases and other health conditions. Speaking on the importance of the training, the Borno Commissioner for Health Dr Haruna Msheila who was represented by the Executive Director, Borno State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Sule Mele commended WHO for its support towards building the capacity of its health personnel. A total of 56 health facilities and 16 IDP camps are currently being covered by EWARS in five partially accessible local government areas of Maiduguri, Jere, Konduga, Mafa and Kaga where they hope to cover 1.2 million IDPs.