UN’s 2023 humanitarian response plan for Nigeria must address extraordinarily high numbers of children with malnutrition in northwest region
NEW YORK/ABUJA, SEPTEMBER 27, 2022—As the malnutrition crisis in northwest Nigeria continues at catastrophic levels, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is calling for the humanitarian community to immediately respond to the emergency needs of people in the region. Additionally, northwest Nigeria must be included in the UN’s humanitarian response plan so actors that rely on UN funding can also provide aid to the region, said MSF in advance of a UN meeting in Abuja tomorrow to discuss its 2023 program plan.
Since the beginning of 2022, MSF teams have witnessed extraordinarily high numbers of children with malnutrition in MSF’s programs located in five states across northwest Nigeria. Multiple factors have led to a sharp increase in malnutrition in the region over the last year.
“With increasing insecurity, climate change, and global inflation of food prices in a post-pandemic world, we can only imagine this crisis getting worse,” said Dr. Simba Tirima, MSF country representative in Nigeria. “The Nigerian authorities need support to deal with a crisis of this magnitude. This must include emergency humanitarian funding now for organizations able to respond and a commitment to include northwest Nigeria in the UN’s humanitarian response plan for 2023.”
Since January, MSF teams working in collaboration with the Nigerian health authorities have treated close to 100,000 children with acute malnutrition in 34 outpatient facilities and admitted about 17,000 children requiring hospital care in 10 inpatient centers in Kano, Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto, and Kebbi states. In Zamfara state—one of the areas most affected by ongoing violence and banditry—teams recorded a 64 percent increase in the numbers of severely malnourished children treated in the outpatient nutritional departments supported by MSF from January to August 2022 when compared to January to August 2021.