Although the annual peak in malnutrition cases should now be over in Nigeria, dozens of severely malnourished children continue to occupy beds in Médecins Sans Frontières’ (MSF) intensive therapeutic feeding centre in Katsina City, in the country’s northwest. Some doctors, like Dr Alibaba Nurudeen, who works in the centre, say that this is only the tip of the iceberg in a region that is also facing a wave of severe violence.
Kidnapping for ransom, murder, rape, and attacks by armed gangs are threatening thousands of lives. The violence also prevents farmers from cultivating their land and families from going to the market, hospital or school.
“2021 was already very bad, and the prospects for 2022 are very worrying”, warns Michel-Olivier Lacharité, Head of MSF’s Emergency Operations. “Poor harvests and soaring global food prices may well negatively impact the nutritional situation across the region, including in northwest Nigeria.”
“International donors and humanitarian organisations need to take urgent action to head off the worst effects of this looming crisis,” says Lacharité.
Shot by a group of Nigerian filmmakers from JB Multimedia Studios, led by Kachi Benson, “Lucky To Be Alive” tells the stories of mothers like Hadiza and Fatima who travel for kilometres along dangerous roads to get treatment for their malnourished children, in a region where malnutrition is a problem at the best of times, and health workers and funding are woefully lacking.
MSF’s teams are working closely with the Nigerian Ministry of Health to improve treatment provided to children with malnutrition in therapeutic feeding centres across Katsina State.