Lucky to be alive: Hunger and violence in northwestern Nigeria

People in Katsina State, in northwestern Nigeria, are experiencing a major nutritional crisis along with an unprecedented wave of violence. Kidnappings for ransom, killings and assaults by armed men (commonly called bandits), have now become routine. This insecurity disrupts the life of thousands, preventing farmers from growing crops and making it difficult for people to go to markets, schools, and hospitals. All this comes amidst a severe economic crisis, poor harvests, and a lack of water and arable land.

This documentary was shot by a group of Nigerian filmmakers from JB Multimedia Studios, led by Kachi Benson (Daughters of Chibok, 2019). "Lucky To Be Alive" tells the stories of mothers like Hadiza and Fatima who travel for miles along dangerous roads to get treatment for their malnourished children. It also sheds light on the many families struggling to feed themselves in a region where malnutrition is a problem at the best of times, and health workers and funding are woefully lacking.

“The number of cases of malnutrition that we are seeing is increasing rather than decreasing, even though the annual peak has passed,” said Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Dr. Alibaba Nurudeen. “With the patients we have currently in the ward, I can say that it is just a tip of an iceberg.” MSF’s teams are working closely with the Nigerian Ministry of Health to improve treatment provided to children with malnutrition in therapeutic feeding centers across Katsina State but more help is urgently needed.