Measles Ravages Maiduguri, Brings down 1,158 Children in 3 Months

Measles Ravages Maiduguri, Brings down 1,158 Children in 3 Months

A TOTAL of 1,158 children have been affected by measles in Gwange Paediatric Hospital from 1st January to 3rd April of this year alone.

Out of this number, at least 58 percent was received from the rice capital of Zabamari, headquarters of Jere council area of the state.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) also known as Doctors Without Borders in a release, said “The first child affected by measles was admitted in Gwange Paediatric Hospital on 3rd December, 2020 and the number of patients has been increasing since then in Maiduguri hospitals”.

It stated that David Thérond, MSF Head of Mission posited that with the sudden rise of measles within the maiduguri Jere axis, “A vaccination campaign is required to see the number of cases decrease.”

“So far a total of 1158 children with measles have been received in Gwange Paediatric Hospital in Maiduguri from 1st January to 03rd April 2021, of those  58% have come from Zabarmari, a small town located about 20 km from Maiduguri.

“In response, MSF strengthened the hospitalization capacity in both Gwange and Fori health facilities, increasing the number of beds from 65 to 105 in Gwange.

“MSF has also launched activities in partnership with the health authorities in the town of Zabarmari, one of the most affected areas which has an estimated population of over 45,000 people including displaced families in the host community.” said the statement.

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Given that access to Zabarmari remains a challenge due to insurgency, MSF has set up a local team of ten community health workers and a nurse in Zabarmari supervised by a mobile team coming from Maiduguri
to support the local primary health care and refer severe cases to the Gwange Paediatric Hospital in Maiduguri.

Borno state has had incidents of measles epidemic every two years over the past decade.

During the measles outbreak in 2019, eight local government areas of the state were affected and MSF provided care to 4,000 children in Gwange and Bama hospitals.

Several factors contribute to the epidemic said the release and these include the fact that the routine vaccination is not carried out in many locations because over 60% of health centres, according to health
authorities, are closed or unable to function properly because of the lingering conflict, and the fact that Non Governmental Organizations providing health care in remote areas have been forced to leave due to security threats.

RESPONSE OF HOSPITAL INMATES

Hospital imates like Kubura Mohammed, a mother of seven children, from Zabarmari is in the Paediatric Hospital with her four year old daughter, Kaltume Hafisu, who has been diagnosed with measles.

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She says: “My daughter has been ill for six days before I brought her to the hospital. The medical team were all around my daughter throughout our first night because her condition was really critical.

“Her treatment commenced from the moment she was admitted and this includes blood transfusion and the administration of intravenous fluids’.

‘The care we are receiving here is completely free. We appreciate what MSF is doing in our community and I must add that about two weeks ago, one of my daughters was also treated for measles in this hospital. All
of my seven children have had measles at different times’.

CAMPAIGN FOR INSTANT VACCINATION

For those communities living outside Maiduguri in areas with limited access to health care, access to vaccination is  also very critical.

“We are engaged in discussions with the authorities and getting prepared to support the health authorities for a catch up vaccination campaign in Maiduguri and Zabarmari as soon as vaccines are available, because measles is extremely contagious and especially dangerous for young children.”, notes David Thérond.

The vaccination plan is still under discussion at state and federal levels with the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation.

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