Measles outbreak hits Borno as MSF treats over 1,158 cases

By Duku Joel

No fewer than 1,158 children in Borno State are undergoing treatment from measles in Maiduguri, Borno State capital.

According to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) also known as Doctors Without Borders, most of the patients were admitted at Gwange Paediatric hospital, which is managed by MSF.

Statistics indicate 58% of the children admitted at the hospital are from Zabarmari, a volatile small settlement of about 45,000 people located 20km away from Maiduguri.

The duration of the outbreak, according to MSF Head of Mission David Therond shows: “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,” adding: “A vaccination campaign is required to see the number of cases decrease.”

Therond informed that MSF launched an aggressive response to the outbreak by strengthening the hospitalisation capacity in Gwange and Fori health facilities through increasing the number of beds from 65 to 105 in Gwange.

Due to the challenge of access to Zabarmari community MSF developed a partnership with the health authorities in the town of Zabarmari with a local team comprising of ten community health workers and a nurse.

This team in Zabarmari is 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.

Kubura Mohammed, a mother of seven children, is from Zabarmari.

She is in the pediatric hospital with her four- year- old daughter, Kaltume Hafisu, who has been diagnosed of measles.

Narrating her experience at the hospital, Kubura said: “My daughter has been ill for six days before I brought her to the hospital. The medical team was 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 of measles in this hospital. All of my seven children have had measles at different times.’’

Nairalovers reports Borno state has had incidents of measles outbreak every two years over the past decade.

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

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