Business and Economy

World Health Organization expands health services support for vulnerable people in northeast Nigeria

The World Health Organization (WHO) has continued to offer emergency life-saving medical assistance in northeast Nigeria to assist the displaced and vulnerable populations.

After catching cholera in December 2022, Falmata Bukar, 60, a resident of Borno state’s Dikwa Local Government Area (LGA), feels grateful to still be alive.

“I started squatting and throwing up while I was by myself at home. After a while, I started to feel weak and eventually passed out. Nobody in my family or neighborhood knew about my situation. The community mobile health team that was performing door-to-door surveys and educating the public about diseases that are prone to outbreaks is how I was found, the woman claims.

The mobile team set up an intravenous fluid (IVF) for Mrs. Bukar right away and later directed her to a local healthcare center for additional care.

“I am appreciative of the mobile team’s assistance in saving me. I may have passed away,” she says.

The WHO-supported mobile health team is also referred to as the community mobile health team. They are a group of doctors who have received training from the WHO to give vulnerable and displaced people as well as the host communities critically needed vital health care.

Aisha Usman, who lives in Song LGA in Adamawa state, was given a specialized delivery thanks to the mobile health team’s prompt intervention.

The residence of the 25-year-old is considered hard to get because it is at least seven kilometers from the Primary Healthcare Center (PHC). Thankfully for Aisha, the mobile health team backed by the WHO was in her neighborhood when she went into labor, offering medical care to expectant mothers and immunization services to qualified children.

“The medical staff helped with the birth of my son. They immunized him with the required shots (Oral Poliovirus Vaccines (OPV-0), Bacille Calmette-Gueri (BCG), and Human Papillomavirus Vaccines) after his birth (HPV-0).

I’m eager to meet my baby and appreciative of the team’s help. I’ll heed their recommendations on how to keep my family safe and ensure that my kids finish their vaccine schedules, she adds.

Program for mobile health interventions

One of the humanitarian initiatives undertaken by the WHO to provide quality and urgent life-saving services to the underserved people in the region is the mobile health intervention program (BAY) that has been implemented in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe States (BAY).

In the past six years, WHO has worked with the governments of the BAY state to provide humanitarian health assistance to address health issues caused by the humanitarian situation in the area.
Due to the severity of the situation and its effects on public health, which put a significant strain on healthcare services in the impacted towns, WHO classified the humanitarian situation in the northeast as a grade 3 emergency.

The gratitude of the government

The WHO’s involvement has improved the health systems, according to Dr. Goni Abba, Director of Public Health at the Borno State Ministry of Health, who appreciates the organization’s assistance to the government.

He emphasizes that the underserved populations in difficult-to-reach places are receiving the necessary emergency health services, regardless of their locations, through the development of healthcare professionals’ capability and the use of mobile health teams.

The WHO technical team’s dedication to responding to disease outbreaks and testing approaches to provide the affected communities with basic life-saving measures is commendable, according to Dr. Abba. The WHO’s cooperation is also praised by the Executive Chairman of the Agency for the state of Adamawa, Dr. Suleiman Bashir.

The initiatives are numerous, he emphasizes, and include fundamental life-saving interventions through mobile health hard-to-reach teams, disease control, mental health care, and gender-based violence.

The United States Agency for International Development, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, governments of Germany and the Netherlands, the Nigerian Humanitarian Funds, and the Contingency Fund for Emergencies, among others, are just a few of the donors whose money made the interventions in the BAY possible in 2022, according to WHO northeast Emergency Manager Dr. Beatrice Muraguri.

WHO is dedicated to promoting higher standards of health for everyone in all emergency settings. We are able to keep providing vital health services, such as Non-Communicable Diseases, to the needy and difficult-to-reach communities thanks to the kind donations from our partners.

Interventions supported by WHO

As part of the WHO’s dedication to enhancing lives, the organization has strengthened the abilities of about 2,300 healthcare professionals, including partners, to respond to epidemic-prone disease outbreaks and other health risks.

An estimated 1,762,874 million people were reached by WHO’s strategic health care interventions from January to December 2022. In addition, 778,081 people had access to health care (consultations and treatment for minor illnesses), 672,780 children received vaccinations against childhood diseases, 238,351 people received vitamin A supplements, and 73,662 pregnant women received antenatal care services to lower maternal morbidity and mortality.

In order to combat malnutrition, 400,000 kids aged 6-59 months underwent Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) screenings, and 10,000 of those instances were forwarded to a local treatment facility.

In addition, 86,585 women and girls received education about gender-based violence and how it affects health; 1,842 survivors of GBV received first-line support; and 146 survivors were referred to PHCs for additional care.

In addition, 32,215 patients received care for mental health issues like epilepsy/seizure disorder, psychotic illnesses, and mental retardation. While an estimated 1,738,400 people were reached with integrated health risk messages, WHO supplied medical supplies for cholera outbreak intervention and mental health medications.

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