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MSF scaling up efforts to contain cholera in Maiduguri

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Maiduguri, Nigeria - Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is scaling up its ongoing efforts to prevent further deaths and the spread of cholera in Maiduguri, Nigeria. MSF is working in coordination with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and other organisations that are responding to the outbreak in the city. 

MSF has established a 40-bed cholera treatment centre in Dala, which has so far admitted 70 patients. Teams have set up an oral rehydration point in Muna camp, and 14 community health workers are helping to find new cases and trace community members who may have come into contact with affected people.
The majority of cholera patients come from Muna Garage, a camp for people who have fled other parts of the state due to the ongoing conflict between the Nigerian armed forces and Boko Haram. Following heavy rains, the camp is partly flooded, which is an additional risk factor during a cholera outbreak. The flooding has made the already poor sanitary conditions at the camp even worse. A potential case has also now been reported from another part of the city.

“MSF has rapidly been responding to the cholera outbreak in Maiduguri. We set up a cholera treatment centre in Dala earlier this year in anticipation of a potential outbreak. Over the last week, we have witnessed a steady increase in the number of patients at our treatment centre and at the rehydration point in Muna camp,” said Anne-Cécile Niard, MSF Project Coordinator. “We are in the process of expanding the capacity of our treatment centre in Dala to 50 beds and are exploring the possibility of opening another treatment centre close to the most affected areas. We are worried that the number of beds that are currently planned will not be enough to cope with the peak of the outbreak.”

MSF is also setting up rehydration points in places where new cases are being reported and is sharing its medical expertise by training state health workers and those from the World Health Organization (WHO) in prevention and control methods.

“With early diagnosis and treatment, people have a very good chance of survival; already 37 patients have been discharged from our treatment centre in Dala,” said Anna Cillers, MSF Medical Coordinator. “However, to contain the spread of cholera in Maiduguri, the need for a coordinated response from the health authorities and other responders to this outbreak cannot be overstated.”

MSF is responding in coordination with the Ministry of Health and other organisations to make sure that affected households are sprayed with chlorine solution, and that soap and water purifying tablets are distributed in Muna Camp.

Since 2014, MSF has been providing nutrition, primary and secondary healthcare, medical aid in disease outbreaks, and monitoring access to food, clean water and shelter across 11 locations in Borno State, Nigeria.