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Measles hit Borno with 1,158 children hospitalized in Borno

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Measles hit Borno with 1,158 children hospitalized in Borno

The Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Head of Mission in Nigeria, Mr David Therond has said that 1,158 children were hit with measles in Borno.

According to him, the recorded cases of the airborne disease were made between January 1 and April 3, 2021, in Gwange ward of Maiduguri and the Zabarmari community.

Zabarmari, is 20 kilometres east of Maiduguri, the state capital.

Therond in a statement Sunday in Maiduguri disclosed: “Fifty-eight per cent of affected children are from the Zabarmari farming community that was attacked last year while farmers were harvesting their rice,” he said.

He said the doctors without borders are caring for a high number of patients suffering from measles in Maiduguri metropolis, the state capital.

While lamenting measles outbreaks, he said: “The first child affected by measles was admitted in Gwange Pediatric hospital on December 3, 2020,” noting that the number of patients has been increasing since then in Maiduguri hospitals.

“A vaccination campaign is required to see the number of cases decrease,” he said.

He disclosed that the children with measles are currently receiving treatments at the Gwange Pediatric hospital in Maiduguri metropolis.

According to him, MSF has strengthened the hospitalization capacity in both Gwange and Fori health facilities.

He added that the number of beds have been increased from 65 to 105 in the Gwange community.

Continuing, he added: “MSF has also launched activities in partnership with the health authorities in the town of Zabarmari, one of the most affected areas.

He said that Zabarmari has a population of over 45,000, including displaced families in the rice farming host community.

“Zabarmari remains a challenge, due to the volatile context,” he lamented, stating that the doctors have set up a local team of ten community health workers and a nurse.

He said the health mobile team was to support the local primary health care and refer severe cases to the Gwange pediatric hospital in Maiduguri.

“We had incidents of a measles epidemic in Borno every two years over the past decade,” he noted, adding that during the measles outbreak in 2019, eight local government areas of Borno state were affected.

He said this informed MSF to provide care to 4,000 children in Gwange and Bama hospitals.

He attributed the measles epidemic to several factors, including lack of routine vaccination in many communities of the state.

Besides, he added that 60% of health centres are either closed or unable to function properly because of conflict.

He said that NGOs providing healthcare in remote areas are being forced to leave due to security challenges.  

Despite the challenges, he said: “We are engaged in discussions with the authorities and get prepared to support the health authorities for a catch-up vaccination campaign in Maiduguri and Zabarmari,” warning that measles is extremely contagious and dangerous to children.

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