Boko Haram: Nigeria govt spent over N5 billion on humanitarian services in Borno – Minister

The federal Government has invested over N5 billion on the provision of health and humanitarian services in Borno State in the last three years, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, has said.

Mr Adewole, on Monday in Abuja, said the funds were used to cushion the effects of Boko Haram insurgency in the state.

The minister spoke at the conference tagged, Nigeria Humanitarian Response Dialogue, organised by the ministry of health.

He said “the health sector’s response to humanitarian crisis was initiated by the ministry in 2016.”

The theme of the conference was “Health in Humanitarian Response”. The occasion also served as an avenue to celebrate the lives of 74 health personnel who died during the cause of discharging humanitarian duties to people in the region.

In an earlier remark, the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, said despite the ongoing humanitarian interventions in the North-east, a large area of Borno State is yet to be accessible to health workers.

This, he said, is due to the Boko Haram crisis in the region.

Mr Osinbajo was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.

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Mr Mustapha, who hails from Adamawa State, one of the states affected by the insurgency, lamented the effect of the crisis on the people in the region.

He said the insecurity in the region has made many people flee from their homes.

He said the government will ensure that all policies relating to humanitarian responses are discharged and implemented.

“The government is working tirelessly to ensure that programmes and objectives related to the Nigerian humanitarian response see the light of the day. The humanitarian crisis in the six North-east states has intensified after eight years of violent conflict. The conflict has caused widespread displacement, acute food and nutrition shortage, insecurity and serious human right violation. A large area of Borno state remains inaccessible to humanitarian assistance,” he said.

Interventions

Mr Adewole said the dialogue was aimed at creating a system that would respond to humanitarian issues nationally and other emerging areas of humanitarian responses.

“You are aware health serves as a constant denominator for quantifying the magnitude of a crisis and our primary goal as health workers is to curb an incidence of excess morbidities and mortalities which normally ensues as a consequence of crisis situation. For this reason, health was prioritised in the Buhari plan and the economic recovery and growth plan as a veritable tool for socio-economic growth for the nation and in rebuilding conflict affect north east,” he said.

He said the project centres on Borno as the epicentre of the conflict “because it was the worst hit with the worst health indices and still needs immediate intervention.”

“This oroject has been entirely funded by the federal government with the sum of over N 5 billion invested to date, with a large proportion of the funds used to procure medicines and health related supplies, in addition to supporting at least 350 healthcare providers at every phase of the project.

“Its specific focus is to address the needs of the most vulnerable persons, which are children under 5, pregnant and lactating mothers, the elderly and the disabled persons in the affected communities with a zeal to ensure equitable access to health service. This Project has been ongoing for three years now and is presently in its third phase,” he added.

Mr Adewole also said 888,868 persons, in 25 accessible LGAs have directly benefitted from the ongoing project.

He said the team is also currently serving 614,500 IDPs in Maiduguri and over 1,000,000 persons residing in host communities across Borno.

The services offered range from screening and management of cases of severe acute malnutrition in children, management of communicable and non-communicable diseases, provision of family planning services and obstetric care by skilled nurses and midwives and mental health and psychosocial support by trained community health extension workers, he added.

“This team has also served as the bulwark of service providers deployed during the periods of (disease) outbreak,” he said.

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