One of the international humanitarian agencies working in Nigeria’s North East region, Medecins Sans Frontieres, MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders, has opened a new 50-bed therapeutic feeding centre for the treatment of malnourished children in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.
The centre which is expandable to 100 beds is the third of such specialised feeding centres in Maiduguri town.
The new feeding centre, which is situated within the compound of the primary healthcare centre in Fori district of Maiduguri, started receiving patients about three weeks ago but was officially opened on Saturday.
According to Malik Samuel, MSF’s Field Communications Manager in Nigeria, the centre is made up of an outpatient department, referred to as the ambulatory therapeutic feeding centre and the inpatient department also known as the inpatient therapeutic feeding centre.
The outpatient programme caters for malnourished children who are enrolled in a nutrition programme where they get medical follow up every two weeks and are given plumpy nut ration; while the inpatient department is where children with severe acute malnutrition with other complications are admitted for as long as they need close medical follow up.
“We have so far in the outpatient programme, after three weeks, 120 children and in the inpatient department we have had 15 children. The difference is that in the inpatient department we are seeing children with severe complications,” Samuel quoted Cathy Hansens, MSF Field Coordinator, as saying.
The MSF also has a team of community health workers going into the community to test children for malnutrition and also inform parents on the need to bring their children to the programme.
The organization currently has about 1,649 Nigerian staff and 136 international staff working in Borno state.
MSF first started working in Nigeria in 1996, and is one of the few organisations still able to operate in hard-to-reach areas of the country.