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INSECURITY, LOW RESOURCES DENY HEALTHCARE FOR 3 MILLION PEOPLE IN NORTHEAST

Jutha Gupah, Maiduguri

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative, Dr. Wondi Alemu has said that “insecurity and inadequate workforce” have denied healthcare for three million people in the Northeast. According to the global health agency, out of 5.4 million people in need of healthcare delivery services, only 2.3 million were reached between January and June this year. Alemu disclosed this on Wednesday in WHO’s 2018 mid-year report released at the Capacity Strengthening Workshop on health reporting during emergencies at Yola, Adamawa state. He said the 2.3 million people reached with healthcare delivery services, comprise 410, 256 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), 32, 014 returnees and 1.87 million live in host communities of insurgency affected states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. “As the crisis in the northeast Nigeria protracts, the already weakened healthcare system gets even worse,” said the report, adding that; “Most health facilities outside the urban areas are dysfunctional due to conflict-related destructions.” The report attributed the inaccessibility of 3.1 million people with healthcare to insecurity, inadequate health workforce and lack of medicine and supplies. “As large scale displacements continued in the first half of 2018, affected populations became more vulnerable to disease outbreaks,” warned Alemu in the report. Alemu said that serious medical conditions were triggered by the relocation operation for some individuals. He however noted that some of the individuals, cannot access needed services, particularly for patients managing kidney failures, diabetes and cancer. On health challenges, Alemu said: “As more places become accessible in the first half of this year, multiple displacements and continuous mobility made sustainable health programming challenging.” According to him, during the same period, disruption of the health delivery system continued and resulted in critical health conditions. He said the health conditions include multiple outbreaks of communicable diseases among women, children, elderly and the disabled. “Morbidity and mortality due to malaria among children under five, still accounted for majority of deaths,” said the report, adding that overcrowding in IDP camps predisposed the people to outbreaks of diseases, including cholera.

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