The Federal Ministry of Health says it has expended over N5 billion on provision of health and humanitarian services in response to the effects of insurgency in Borno State.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, made the disclosure during the Nigeria Humanitarian Response Dialogue organised by the ministry on Monday in Abuja.
The conference, with the theme: “Health in Humanitarian Response,” was aimed at creating a system that would respond to humanitarian issues nationally and other emerging areas of humanitarian response.
Adewole noted that Borno State, as the epicentre of the conflict, was found to have had the worst health indices and still in need of immediate intervention.
He said the health sector’s response to humanitarian crisis was initiated by the ministry in 2016.
According to him, it is part of the Federal Government’s efforts to ensure quality healthcare delivery for affected communities, the Internally Displaced Persons and other vulnerable groups.
Adewole said: “This project has been entirely funded by the Federal Government with the sum of over N5 billion expended by the government from inception to date.
“Large sum of money was used for the purchase of medicines and health related supplies in addition to supporting at least 350 healthcare providers at every phase of the project.
“Through this project, a total of 888,868 persons have directly benefitted from our various service delivery points in the 25 accessible local government areas.
“This is unprecedented in the history of humanitarian response in Nigeria.”
Adewole added that access to basic emergency health service had increased for an IDP population of 614,500 residing in different camps within Maiduguri and over one million persons residing in host communities across Borno State.
Adewole said the services ranged from screening and management of cases of severe malnutrition in children, management of communicable and non-communicable diseases, provision of family planning services and obstetric care.
According to him, mental health and psychosocial support are also provided by trained community health extension workers, stressing that all these happened in the first and second phases of the project.
The minister said President Muhammadu Buhari approved the third phase of the project, which commenced in November 2018.
Adewole also said a team of assessors and experts had been deployed to provide basic emergency healthcare services to victims of the situation in Zamfara State.
Also, the Officer-in-Charge of the World Health Organisation, Dr. Clement Peter, said the government had demonstrated concern by ensuring that people affected got the required health services.
Peter said: “While celebrating what has been, we also need to reflect on the lives of people affected by the crises who cannot access the required health services they require; we need to include them.
“We have heard about the success and achievements of the government on this project, but much needs to be done and it is this much more we need to work on.
“As WHO, we commit our resolve to work with government of Nigeria to ensure that all those who need health services get the services they deserve.”
The Senate Committee Chairman on Health, Senator Lanre Tejuoso said cases of acute malnutrition was high in Nigeria with over 2.5 million children being affected.
Tejuoso said feeding these malnourished children needed special intervention, which was not available in Nigeria.
The senator, therefore, appealed to the FG for a waiver to enable the private sector import ready-to-use therapeutic food to ameliorate the challenges.
This, according to him, will help to reduce over-reliance on the FG and UNICEF for the product.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that part of the activities at the event included presentation of merit awards to some Nigerians and posthumous awards to health workers and other staff who lost their lives during the humanitarian crises.