Nigeria: MSF prepares to treat victims of possible electoral violence

Denis Mbae, has just come back from a year’s mission with MSF in Nigeria. This Kenyan nurse’s first assignment was during a cholera outbreak in Bauchi, northern Nigeria, in early 2014. Since last July he had been working with the emergency preparedness team in Abuja, the capital of the country.

“In 2014 I moved around into many states like in the north east in Yobe, one of three states under a state of emergency following attacks by Boko Haram, and at the beginning of 2015 I was based in the MSF project in Port-Harcourt, in the south.

My mission consisted in assessing hospitals and health centers to evaluate their response capacity in the event of an emergency with mass casualties. Our objective, more recently, has been to prepare for possible victims of potential violence in the run up to the presidential election on 28th March, and the gubernatorial elections that will take place on the 12th of April: this preparedness has focused on supporting specialized hospitals, one in each of the most sensitive states.

Nigeria is a very big country with well qualified human resources in its health facilities.

Our evaluation revealed that although there are trained staffs, doctors and nurses available, they lack medical capacity both in terms of organization and availability of drugs or surgery kits… to treat and provide an appropriate response in the event of a high influx of patients.

The MSF team, present in Borno state in the north-East of the country, since 2013, has already supplied certain hospitals with medical materials for mass casualties after several bombs blasts. In addition to our action in the north, we have worked in the south, in the Port-Harcourt emergency stabilization center in Rivers state, because this city and the state around it are potential areas of instability and political violence. MSF has been working there for many years and knows the region.

In addition to this preparedness plan for referral hospitals we are also ready to mobilize supplies and Nigerian well trained health personnel, even from our program in Jahun, in Jigawa state, and send them to more remote areas.”