Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), also recognized as Doctors Without Borders has reported encountering a significant surge of malnourished children across seven northern states in its medical centers.

A declaration released by MSF’s Field Communication Officer in Nigeria, Abdulkareem Yakubu, identified the impacted states as Kano, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe, Sokoto, Zamfara, and Kebbi.

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The global humanitarian organization noted that MSF’s in-patient facilities in Northern Nigeria have observed a rise in admissions of severely malnourished children with life-threatening complications.

This surge surpasses last year’s numbers by over 100 percent in certain areas. According to the statement, for MSF teams, this trend is alarming, suggesting an early onset of the lean season and the accompanying surge in acute malnutrition, usually expected in July.

The statement emphasized that they are compelled to treat patients on mattresses on the floor due to full facilities and the dire situation of children dying.

MSF’s Country Representative in Nigeria, Simba Tirima, emphasized that without prompt intervention, more lives will be at risk. Urgent collective efforts are needed to rescue lives and ensure the children of Northern Nigeria can grow up without the devastating impacts of malnutrition.

MSF urged for immediate humanitarian aid and called on Nigerian authorities, international organizations, and donors to swiftly diagnose and treat malnourished children while also addressing the underlying causes of the crisis through long-term initiatives.

MSF has been consistently raising alarms about the deteriorating malnutrition crisis since 2022, with 2023 already marked as critical. They stress that the situation has only worsened in 2024.

Expressing their frustration, MSF stated that they cannot continue to describe these dire circumstances year after year, questioning what it will take for widespread action to be taken.

In April 2024, MSF’s medical team in Maiduguri, Borno State, admitted 1,250 severely malnourished children with complications to its in-patient therapeutic feeding center, doubling the admissions from April 2023.

By the end of May, the center urgently expanded to accommodate 350 patients, far surpassing the 200 beds initially allocated for the peak malnutrition season in July and August.

Additionally, MSF highlighted the situation at its facility in Kafin Madaki Hospital, Bauchi State, where admissions of severely malnourished children surged by 188 percent during the first three months of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023.

According to ThePaan, In Zamfara State MSF reported a 30 percent increase in admissions at in-patient centers in Shinkafi and Zurmi in April compared to March, while Talata Mafara’s facility saw a 20 percent increase. Moreover, major cities like Kano and Sokoto also witnessed alarming spikes, with admissions rising by 75 and 100 percent, respectively.

MSF emphasized that despite the severity of the situation, the overall humanitarian response remains inadequate, with other non-profit organizations operating in the region also struggling to cope.

In May, both the United Nations and Nigerian authorities issued an urgent appeal for $306.4 million to address the nutritional needs in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states, but this amount is considered insufficient for the broader region’s needs.

Additionally, in December of last year, MSF temporarily evacuated some of its staff from facilities in Zamfara State, a move that residents fear may lead to significant setbacks in healthcare delivery, particularly in rural areas.