January 06, 2016

On the evening of December 27, Islamist militants launched a large-scale attack in Maiduguri, the capital of northern Nigeria's Borno State; a wave of suicide bombings were carried out the following day as well. Responding to the high numbers of people wounded in these attacks, a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) team working in Umaru Shehu Hospital in Maiduguri began performing trauma surgery and treated about 40 patients, including seven critical cases, over three days.

"While many adults were treated, our team was struck by the number of children presenting with shrapnel wounds," said Peter Orr, MSF emergency coordinator. "The addition of our surgical team allowed us to treat patients on site rather than refer them to the one city hospital with trauma surgery capacity, from the International Committee of the Red Cross, which was also handling many cases."

The MSF team began working in the emergency room at Umaru Shehu hospital on September 28, 2015, treating patients referred from smaller health structures and providing care to people wounded during attacks. Just three days after arriving, in fact, MSF staff and the hospital’s teams treated 20 patients (including 6 children and 11 women) wounded by suicide attacks on October 1.

Every week, MSF receives about 200 patients in the hospital's emergency room. MSF has also provided essential medicines and medical materials to the hospital, refitted the operating theater, and set up a mass casualty plan.

Violence and attacks in the area have driven roughly a million people into Maiduguri. Other MSF activities in the city include primary health care, maternal health care, therapeutic feeding for severely malnourished children, epidemic and health surveillance, and water and sanitation projects.

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