Eight years of conflict and crisis in north-eastern Nigeria have left two-thirds of health facilities completely or partially destroyed and millions of people without access to healthcare. In August last year, when health teams managed to reach previously inaccessible areas, they found a critical situation. Functioning health facilities were overburdened and more than 40% of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps had no access to basic healthcare services. Childhood vaccination rates had dropped dramatically, leaving children at risk of life-threatening diseases such as polio, whooping cough, pneumonia and measles, and the rate of severe acute malnutrition was estimated at 14%.
In view of these findings, WHO scaled up its support to address people’s health needs and to implement innovative interventions aimed at reducing health risks. Despite continued insecurity, wherever WHO and partners are able to reach those in need, their goal remains the same: to reduce the risk of disease outbreaks and bring life-saving health services to those who need them.