Malnutrition: MSF raises the alarm over death of 854 children in Zamfara Sokoto, Katsina

MSF logo.
MSF logo.

Malnutrition: MSF raises the alarm over death of 854 children in Zamfara Sokoto, Katsina

MEDECIN Sans Frontières (MSF), known as Doctors Without Borders, raised alarms over the dire humanitarian situation unfolding in Nigeria’s Northwest geopolitical zone.

The organization highlighted the devastating impact of armed conflict on communities, resulting in catastrophic levels of malnutrition and escalating crisis.

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According to MSF, over 854 children tragically lost their lives in its facilities across Zamfara, Sokoto, and Katsina due to malnutrition exacerbated by armed conflict, which also severely limits access to healthcare services.

Ahmed Bilal, the head of MSF’s mission, lamented the lack of recognition of the crisis, stressing the urgent need for a coordinated response.

“We have repeatedly expressed our concerns to the UN and donors about the alarming and deteriorating humanitarian crisis in the northwest,” said Bilal. “The lack of recognition of the crisis is having a severe impact on the health and humanitarian needs of the population, and delaying the response which is desperately needed.”

MSF’s medical teams treated 171,465 malnourished children last year and admitted 32,104 to hospitals for life-threatening malnutrition, representing a 14 per cent increase compared to the previous year.

In Katsina, the organization found alarming levels of acute malnutrition, with 17.4 per cent of surveyed children suffering at the beginning of the lean season.

“The high rate of admissions to inpatient facilities has been accompanied by alarming mortality rates,” stated MSF. “Sadly, many children are dying within 48 hours after arriving in critical conditions, too late to be saved due to the barriers in reaching healthcare.”

The crisis extends beyond malnutrition, with over 2,000 people losing their lives mainly due to banditry in the North-west region, according to MSF. The persistent violence, characterized by armed banditry and kidnappings, has displaced communities, destroyed livelihoods, and disrupted access to basic services.

“People living in the states of Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, and Kebbi have been hit by the persistent violence,” MSF emphasized. “As well as being displaced from their homes, people have lost their livelihoods, and are often no longer able to reach their farms for security reasons.”

The MSF’s report underscores the urgent need for international attention and support to address the worsening humanitarian crisis in Nigeria’s Northwest, where countless lives hang in the balance amid escalating violence and widespread suffering.

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