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Why 3.1m people can’t access care in NorthEast


Stethoscope on a printed sheet of paper

About 3.11 million people cannot access health facilities in the Northeast, after eight years of Boko Haram insurgency that has claimed many lives and property in the region.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) in its report released in Maiduguri, epicentre of the conflict said that 3,113, 004 out of 6.9 million people in the conflict region comprising Adamawa, Borno and Yobe state; do not have access to medical facilities.

“About 755 health facilities have been destroyed in the northeast region since the beginning of insurgency in 2009,” WHO said on Monday in its Annual Report, a 2017 review of the health situation in the region worst hit by the crisis,” said the report.


The conflict in the volatile northeast has also dragged on, fueling humanitarian challenges including Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and outbreak of diseases at camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

According to WHO’s Northeast emergency manager, Dr. Collins Owili, “Although, some areas have become accessible, the only way WHO staff gets to Monguno, Damasak, Gwoza, Banki, Ngala (once seized by Boko Haram) and many other locations in the northeast where people are still trapped and living in unthinkable condition is by United Nations (UN) Humanitarian Air Service helicopter or with military escort,”

The global health organisation also said that only 10 per cent of the functioning health facilities in the area have access to safe water. “About 60 per cent of health facilities have no access to safe water; while almost 30 per cent have no access to water,” said the report.

Also, the WHO report warned that rising cases of common mental disorders might double in Borno State; eight years after Boko Haram insurgency has claimed many lives property in the Northeast region of the country.

According to the WHO report, cases of mental disorders could from its current rate of 10 per cent to 20 per cent in 2018.

“The rates of common mental disorders can double-often from 10 to 20 per cent. This is particularly critical in a context where rates of gender-based violence, abductions and gross atrocities are high,” said the WHO report.

The report, however, expressed concern about the inadequate health facilities in Borno state, noting that the facilities cannot accommodate mental challenges in the Northeast region with about 25 million people.

It added: “The Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital in Maiduguri, Borno State, is the only specialized mental health facility for a population of over 25 million people in the insurgency affected region.

The organization’s report also said that only 18 per cent of the fully or partially functioning health centres in state can; “reportedly provide survivors of violence with integrated clinical management services.”

Meanwhile, the WHO representative in Nigeria, Dr. Wondimagegnehu Wondi had said that continued escalations of Boko Haram insurgency in Northeast have affected 14.8 million people directly on their health and well-being.

Wondi disclosed this on Friday; in 2017 UN Organisation Report released to journalists in Maiduguri.

He said the nine-year insurgency in the region; has resulted into a “humanitarian crisis with devastating effects” on people’s health and wellbeing.

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