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Niger famine spreads to Nigeria

Posted by The Punch on 2005/08/06 | Views: 969 |

Niger famine spreads to Nigeria


As world attention focuses on the famine ravaging parts of Niger Republic, indications have emerged that the problem is spreading to Nigeria, with thousands of children in Katsina State at risk of malnutrition.

As world attention focuses on the famine ravaging parts of Niger Republic, indications have emerged that the problem is spreading to Nigeria, with thousands of children in Katsina State at risk of malnutrition.

Saturday Punch observed during a visit to Katsina on Wednesday and Thursday that international medical aid group, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), had already handled over 1,000 cases of malnourished Nigerian children.

Our correspondent gathered that dozens of malnourished Nigerian children were being attended to on a daily basis at the Kofar Sauri therapeutic centre set up by MSF near the border between Katsina State and Maradi State in hunger-stricken Niger Republic.

Some mothers, who spoke to our correspondent in Hausa at the Katsina centre on Wednesday, said they came from different parts of the state to seek for treatment for their sick children.

Aisha Ibrahim, mother of two-year-old Jamila, said, “We came in from Jibiya two days ago; my daughter was not able to eat and she was weak. I have seen some improvement today.”

Another mother, Maimuna Abubakar, explained that MSF officials in Mashi referred her to the centre.

Our correspondent observed that the visiting period of 4-6pm set for friends and relatives at the centre was being strictly adhered to.

Confirming the development in an interview with our correspondent on Wednesday, Head of MSF’s Katsina Centre, Ms. Christelle Mizera, said the NGO set up the facility when it noticed an influx of malnourished Nigerian children at the one meant for cases from neighbouring Niger Republic in Maradi.

Mizera said, “when we started receiving some Nigerian children at our centre in Maradi, we decided to come here and set up. The children here are mostly Nigerian children. The problem is largely that of malnutrition; we hospitalize some cases that are serious and we treat others and let them go.”

The MSF official explained that so far, “over 1,000 children have been treated,.” adding that on Tuesday night, there were 375 children on admission at the centre. Although she admitted that some deaths had been recorded at the Katsina centre, she, however, declined to give further details.

When contacted, the state Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Abdu Haro Mashi, said on telephone that the state government was working with MSF to provide succour for “our Nigerien neighbours.”

He would not be drawn into confirming whether Nigerian children were also being attended to at the centre but merely said that it was not discriminating against any child that needed medical attention.

SATURDAY PUNCH, August 06, 2005

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.