Fear and mistrust hinders care after post-election riots in Jos, Nigeria
5 December 2008
Following the post electoral riots that took place in late November in Jos, Plateau State, where 300 people were reported killed, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) conducted an exploratory assessment and provided assistance to medical structures. On Monday and Tuesday, the MSF team visited and assessed the situation in the medical facilities that have treated the wounded. The situation remains tense between Muslims and Christians and there are still some patients who have not been treated. They either fear being taken by police or are not willing to cross into interethnic areas where hospitals are available. It remains difficult to obtain accurate figures about the number of people who have been wounded. Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) has handled approximately 280 cases (gunshots, machete wounds) and performed 100 surgeries. In this 500-bed hospital, 200 were admitted for wounds caused by last week's violence. MSF has provided drugs and dressing material. At this point, JUTH has been able to handle the influx of patients. Approximately 200 people were also treated in the emergency room of the Specialist Hospital and 50 of those patients underwent surgery. A temporary dispensary was set up beside the central mosque, where 30 wounded people were treated during the violence. The MSF team visited two other health centers in the Muslim neighborhood where 40 people were treated and six died. In town, things have not gone back to normal yet, markets and shops are still closed and traffic remains light. Approximately 4,000 people are temporarily staying in a primary and secondary school, in fear of returning to their homes. The displaced have received clothes donations and MSF is planning the distribution of non-food items, such as blankets and mosquito nets, as well as improving the sanitation conditions. Meanwhile, the MSF team will continue to monitor the situation of those who are wounded and reluctant or afraid to go to the hospital. The environment remains volatile.