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Emergencies: WHO trains 5, 500 health workers in NE

 Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri

The World Health Organization (WHO) has trained a total of 5, 500 health workers and others in the northeast states to respond to various health emergencies triggered by a decade of Boko Haram violence in the area.

WHO in its weekly report published yesterday through its country office in Maiduguri said the empowerment of health workers was fueled by “drastic decrease in the quality of the health system in the region” devastated by insurgency.

“Attacks on the health facilities in the 10-year old humanitarian emergency in north-eastern Nigeria has resulted not only in two-thirds of health facilities being completely or partially destroyed but the healthcare workforce have also drained drastically leaving functional health facilities and staff overburdened and sometimes compelled to handle tasks beyond their capacities,” the organization said in its weekly report.

With about 788 health facilities destroyed in the crisis since 2011 and health workers killed in Borno last year alone, movement of medical and health personnel out of the area to other states and increasing health emergency condition, WHO said training of more health workers was fundamental to cover up the gab.

“In 2018 alone, 13 attacks on health facilities led to 17 deaths and 12 injuries involving healthcare workers. According to Public Service International, an estimated 177 health workers (Borno: 168; Yobe: 9) have been killed by insurgents in Borno and Yobe states since the insurgency started in the region in 2009,” the report said. It noted that improving the capacity of available health workers will save more lives in the area.

“Through capacity building interventions, WHO aims not only to improve the capacity of national health staff but ultimately to save more lives,” Dr. Clement Peter Lasuba, Office in Charge, WHO Nigeria disclosed.

It said the capacity building interventions covers surveillance of disease outbreaks, risk communication and mental healthcare. It noted that the capacity building efforts have contributed in improving the skills of health care workers to provide adequate and quality life-saving services to the affected population.

The world health body said the capacity building programme was being supported by USAID Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance, the European Commission Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, the Federal Government of Germany, the Government of Japan, the Government of Korea, Global Affairs Canada, the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund.

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