‘Health sector needs N8.2b to address humanitarian crisis’
• WHO uncovers dire situations in 15 Borno councils
As part of the overall 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan under review by the World Health Organisation (WHO), $25 million or N8.2 billion is required to address funding gaps in Nigeria’s health sector.
The global watchdog, yesterday, raised fresh alarm on the humanitarian crisis in the country, decrying appalling health situations in 15 Borno State Local Government Areas (LGAs) formerly held by insurgents. It also disclosed that more than half of the health facilities in the state’s most affected communities are non functional.
It announced, however, that its emergency team arrived August 19, 2016 in Maiduguri, Borno State, to assess and respond to the health needs of 800,000 people in the troubled region.
“The working environment in the affected areas is extremely challenging. Resources and capacities to meet the enormous health service gaps are grossly inadequate. Insecurity is a major constraint, with a number of recent attacks on humanitarian staff by insurgents. The annual wet season is also peaking and there are forecasts of major floods in the coming weeks. Access to the 15 LGAs require military escort over long distances on poor roads.
“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 one million children. Subsequent large-scale polio immunisation rounds are planned before November.
WHO has also dispatched emergency drugs and supplies, while the organisation’s emergency operations will be further reinforced by an expanded, experienced response team in coming days,” it said.