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MSF in Nigeria, 2006/2007
Field Staff: 291
Reason for Intervention:
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Increased outbreaks of armed violence among political and criminal groups in the Niger Delta have caused activities to expand significantly at MSF’s Port Harcourt trauma center. In 2006, bed capacity increased from 17 to 70 and MSF responded to a total of 3,058 medical emergencies, 188of these people suffering from gunshot wounds.
The center, located in Port Harcourt’s Teme hospital, opened in 2005 to provide emergency medical services free of charge to the population of Port Harcourt and surrounding areas. Most patients arriving at the hospital have sustained life-threatening trauma. Up to 200 surgical procedures are performed here each month. In July 2006, MSF began providing medical and psychological care to victims of sexual violence and increased efforts to generate awareness of this program. Psychological support was also extended to all trauma victims in need at the hospital.
New surgical technique
In December 2006, MSF introduced an orthopedic surgical technique known as “internal fixation” in the Teme trauma centre. Used to repair fractures, this surgical method helps patients by reducing the average length of stay required in hospital and allows them to resume normal function more quickly than with “external fixation” methods. MSF has also integrated a physical rehabilitation program to help patients regain maximum mobility following surgery. A total of 1,064 surgeries were conducted at Port Harcourt in 2006, more than 40 percent of these were orthopedic interventions.
Responding to cholera and floods
MSF responded to a cholera outbreak in Borno State in the last quarter of 2006 and supported the state Ministry of Health in setting up isolation camps with water and sanitation, training and a donation of medical materials. Following flooding in Zamfara, MSF also set up and organized direct distributions of water and sanitation equipment and drug supplies for 1,000 people.
Lagos HIV/AIDS project
In its HIV/AIDS project in Lagos, MSF had 1,335 patients registered for treatment at Lagos General Hospital (LGH) at the end of 2006. MSF is negotiating with the LGH and the Global HIV/AIDS Initiative Nigeria to hand over patients with uncomplicated cases of HIV who are following firstline (standard) drug regimens.
In addition to giving medical aid, MSF works with various civil groups advocating for free government provision of HIV/AIDS treatment. In 2006, this campaign helped lead to a presidential decree announcing free anti-retroviral treatment for all Nigerians. The decree has improved local investment in patient care and expanded local capacity to treat patients following both firstline and secondline drug regimens.
MSF has worked in Nigeria since 1996.