Medicines Sans Frontier (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, has stated that it had suspended its medical services for the over 40, 000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Rann, headquarters of Kala Balge local government area of Borno state.
The organisation said it pulled out its staffers from the remote community, for safety reasons, following the Thursday night attack by Boko Haram who killed 11 persons, including UN humanitarian workers and abducted two midwives. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Saturday that there were 55,000 IDPs living in Rann who were in need of care.
MSF expressed worry that at least 60 malnourished children whose cases they were managing would be affected by its absence. The organisation said it would only return to the embattled community when it “deems it fit that security has improved.”
The statement, issued from Geneva and made available to Premium Times by MSF Borno state Field Communication Officer, Musa Yahaya, read: “Following a violent attack in Rann, Borno state, on Thursday, March 1, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) suspended its medical activities in the town and evacuated 22 national and international staff .
It is still unclear how many people were killed and injured but before leaving, MSF medical staff treated 9 wounded patients. “The 40,000 people living in Rann were relying almost entirely on MSF’s services to access healthcare.
“ “Leaving our patients, which include 60 children currently enrolled in our nutrition programme, without medical assistance, is an extremely painful decision,” MSF Emergency Coordinator in Nigeria, Kerri Ann Kelly, said. “We will continue to evaluate how the situation evolves and we will return as soon as the conditions allow.
This latest attack is a stark reminder that it is the people in Borno who are paying the price of this ruthless conflict. They are trapped in a deadly cycle of violence and are heavily reliant on external assistance to survive. In Rann, this is now considerably reduced.
“MSF teams have been providing medical care to the 40,000 people in Rann, since January 2017. Mobile teams delivered assistance on a regular basis, and a permanent medical team has been based in Rann since September 2017.
The people in Rann are extremely vulnerable; many have sought shelter there after fleeing their homes.” MSF had mainly been treating people for malaria, malnutrition and illnesses linked to poor living conditions.