MSF statement on inquiry in Borno, Nigeria

Borno, Nigeria – Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has taken note of the first public communication from the Committee set up by the Governor of Borno state, Nigeria, regarding the inquiry into the COVID-19 index case.

MSF has cooperated transparently, and in good faith with this committee, confident in the knowledge that our medical humanitarian teams performed, and continue to perform, according to medical ethics; in adherence to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control’s (NCDC) regulations and coordinating closely with the Ministry of Health (MOH).

As explained to the different audiences in the specific case of our colleague, and at the time of referral and admission, the symptoms displayed by our colleague, combined with the absence of COVID-19 cases in the area and travel history, meant that they were not identified as a suspected COVID-19 case, in accordance with the case definition as per World Health Organization and NCDC guidance for COVID-19. Also, in this case as in others, due to the absence of a system of referral with ambulances in place, MSF facilitates referrals contracting private transport when needed and this how our colleague was referred.

In all of MSF’s projects in Borno, measures have been put in place since late March to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.  MSF teams have strengthened infection prevention and control measures, nonessential travel has been curtailed, additional hygiene facilities have been installed, and the establishment of isolation spaces has been prioritised.

In addition to the urgency of responding to the pandemic, MSF is committed to continue ensuring that other medical needs are addressed, providing essential healthcare to the vulnerable population of Pulka.

In the first three months of 2020, MSF medical teams in Pulka performed 15,141 outpatient consultations, admitted 795 patients to the emergency room, delivered 179 babies and carried out 40 major surgeries. To do so, we will continue coordinating and collaborating with authorities and the communities we serve for so many years now in a trustful and honest environment.