Medical aid group, Doctors Without Borders has urged the United Nations (UN) to add the region of northwest Nigeria to its humanitarian response plan. This request is due to the increased number of children suffering from malnutrition. The group, widely known by its French abbreviation MSF, have treated nearly 100,000 children in the region for malnutrition this year.
The group made an official announcement on Tuesday, where MSF warned that malnutrition among children in northwest Nigeria is nearing catastrophic levels. The MSF called for an immediate response from the global humanitarian community.
MSF also proposed that the UN include northwest Nigeria in the organisation’s annual humanitarian response plan.
The announcement was the second instance when the medical-aid group raised the alarm regarding the malnutrition situation in Nigeria. In July, MSF expressed their concern over the malnutrition situation in North-East Nigeria.
Northwest Nigeria has been hard-hit with militant attacks and raids by kidnap-for-ransom gangs since late 2020.
MSF also expressed that climate change and soaring food prices have worsened matters.
Froukje Pelsma, MSF’s head of mission in Nigeria, “We have scaled our response. We’re almost at a limit because we cannot handle this alone,”
Further, he added, “This is why we’re asking for more people to come.”
According to Pelsma, more than 30 organisations are operational in the country’s northeastern part. However, only three or four agencies in the northwest are working on malnutrition.
“We want people, most especially the UN and other agencies, to look beyond the northeast,” she said.
MSF has admitted 17,000 children into ten feeding centres across five regional states.
The State of Zamfara has been the most impacted. The state has seen a 64% increase in severely malnourished children in 2022 compared to the last year.
This week, top officials of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) met in the capital to highlight food security problems, intending to strengthen responses and use agriculture to tackle the issues.