December 05, 2008

Following the post-electoral riots in Jos, Plateau State, where 300 people were reported killed, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) conducted an exploratory assessment and provided assistance to hospitals and clinics.

On December 1 and 2, the MSF team visited and assessed the situation in medical facilities that have treated the wounded.

The situation remains tense between Muslims and Christians and there are still some patients who have not been treated. They either fear being taken by police or are not willing to cross into inter-ethnic areas where hospitals are available. It remains difficult to obtain accurate figures about the number of people who have been wounded.

Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) has handled approximately 280 cases (gunshots, machete wounds) and performed 100 surgeries. In this 500-bed hospital, 200 people were admitted for wounds caused by last week’s violence. MSF has provided drugs and dressing material. At this point, JUTH has been able to handle the influx of patients.

Approximately 200 people were also treated in the emergency room of the Specialist Hospital and 50 of those patients underwent surgery. A temporary dispensary was set up beside the central mosque, where 30 wounded people were treated during the violence. The MSF team visited two other health centers in a Muslim neighborhood where 40 people were treated and six died.

In Jos, things have not gone back to normal yet; markets and shops are still closed and traffic remains light. Approximately 4,000 people are temporarily staying in a primary and secondary school, in fear of returning to their homes. The displaced people have received donations of clothing, and MSF is planning the distribution of non-food items, such as blankets and mosquito nets, and is improving the sanitation conditions.

Meanwhile, the MSF team will continue to monitor those who are wounded and reluctant to go to the hospital. The environment remains volatile.