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WHO Raises Alarm On Severe Health Problems In 15 Borno LGAs

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The World Health Organization, WHO, is responding to initial assessments that have revealed the urgent health problems in 15 local government areas of Borno State.

According to WHO, the local government areas which are said to be affected by the health problem are areas which were formerly held by terror group, Boko Haram.

In a news release on Tuesday, August 22, 2016, Peter Salama, Executive Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Program said:

“Protracted conflict situations, such as seen in northern Nigeria – and the surrounding Lake Chad basin countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger – are among the greatest threats to health globally,” Salama said.

“Not only are they associated with the world’s highest rates of death among children and pregnant women, they can also be breeding grounds for infectious diseases and outbreaks – but are too often neglected by the international community.”

The news said that health teams had arrived in Maiduguri city on Friday, August 20, in order to assess the situation and “respond to health needs of 800,000 people in Northern Nigeria”.

“Initial assessments reveal urgent health problems among the population in 15 local government areas (LGAs) formerly held by insurgency groups. Estimated mortality rates in some of the areas are 4 times higher than emergency thresholds.

“The rate of severe acute malnutrition is estimated to be 14%. In addition, Nigeria last week reported 2 polio cases in Borno state, 2 years after the last recorded case in the country. One of the cases is from an LGA that is still inaccessible to health service delivery, while the other is from a newly accessible LGA. Measles cases have also been reported in the area, further complicating a challenging humanitarian environment.

“The immediate goal of WHO and its partners is to urgently reduce the rates of death and disease by rapidly scaling up life-saving health services. WHO will work closely with local officials and specialist agencies to address the health risks posed by malnutrition, disease outbreaks, and long-term lack of access to basic health services,” the statement read.

“Nonetheless, WHO and its partners are taking immediate steps to tackle these issues head-on. WHO has already deployed expert staff to Nigeria for emergency operations, coordination, and data management. Another team is on the ground in Borno State to help with the polio outbreak response.

“The government has already launched emergency polio vaccination activities, with support from WHO and partners. The first round of vaccinations will soon be completed, targeting 1 million children.

“Subsequent large-scale polio immunization rounds are planned before November. WHO has also dispatched emergency drugs and supplies, while the organization’s emergency operations will be further reinforced by an expanded, experienced response team in coming days,” the news agency assured.

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