The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that 1-5 put of the nearly 7 million people living in camps for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in north-eastern Nigeria are in need of humanitarian assistance and medical care.
In a news letter uploaded on its website on Tuesday, the WHO Representative to Nigeria Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu lamented that despite the huge and urgent demand for medical care, there is only one specialized mental health facility in the whole region.
He said that the organization had in September 2017 collaborated with the Borno state authorities and the Federal Neuron-Psychiatric hospital to launch the mental health Gap Action Program (mhGAP).
According to him, the partners trained about 64 primary healthcare workers in IDP camps and other humanitarian facilities to recognize and treat mental disorders which are common in emergency settings.
Alemu said that a 13 year old Aisha who witnessed the killing of her brothers by the Boko Haram insurgents and has been living in shock at the Bakass, the IDP camp on the outskirt of Maiduguri since then was one of the first beneficiaries of the program.
The WHO Representative to Nigeria added that a primary healthcare worker, Falmata Muhammed was engaged to provide psychosocial support to Aisha once a week adding that; “in the first five months of the program 5 000 people accessed mental healthcare in 36 primary healthcare facilities as the organization is scaling up the pilot intervention and training 70 additional health workers across northeastern Nigeria”, he said.
It might interest you to know that even before the insurgency; North-East Nigeria had some of the worst health and socioeconomic indices in the country. This is against the backdrop of a weak health system marked by inadequate health facilities and a dearth of skilled health workers.