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Nigeria: Testimonies from IDPs in Maiduguri

11 Nov 2016

In Maiduguri, Médecins Sans Frontières teams are treating malnourished children in a therapeutic feeding center in Gwange with more than 100 beds. More than 300 children are admitted per month. The teams also run two health centers in Maimusari and Bolori with more than 3.000 consultations per week. Ambulatory feeding centers and maternity services are part of the centers, as well as a pediatric clinic with 50 beds in Maimusari. Médecins Sans Frontières regularly distributes food and aid in four camps for displaced persons, among them Muna Garage camp, and offers medical care.

Zainab Ali 

I am 60 years old from Alkaleri in Mafa. I have been in this hospital since 18 days when my granddaughter was admitted. She had convulsions, diarrhea, headache and she vomited a lot also. Her name is Aisha, she is eight years old. When we brought her here, she was unconscious and could not eat. But now she is getting better and can eat. She started eating yesterday. Her mother, who is my daughter, is outside. She has a little baby she needs to look after while I attend to Aisha. We live at Muna Garage IDPs camp and have been there for two years since arriving from Alkaleri, a village not far from Maiduguri and we trekked for three hours to get to Muna.  

My husband died from illness five years ago and I have seven children. We all live in Muna in makeshift shelters which we built with sacks and sticks. My daughter and her husband and the little baby live in one, I and Aisha live in another while my other children have their own too. Our major problem at Muna is food and shelter. My son-in-law, Aisha's father, sells coconuts to buy corn and millet for us to eat. This is not enough but we have no choice. We do not farm but we are allowed to go out of the camp. The security men at the entrance to the camp search and question us. If they see you with anything, even a cup, they want to know what is inside and where you got it from.

Sara Kawu

I come from Dikwa, but I had to flee from there with my family due to the fighting. Now I live with my husband and our five children in a house in Ruwan Zefi, a neighbourhood in Maiduguri at the road to Dikwa. Alhaji is my second child. He has been very sick. When he eats, he vomits, he had convulsions and blood in his stool. So I came with him to the hospital yesterday. The doctors gave him fluids and medicine. He´s already better. Since we are here, he has not had convulsions any more, and he has no complaints. Life is difficult for us displaced people. Food is expensive, and we spend nights without having eaten. Sometimes we can only eat once a day. My husband used to have a shop. But now he doesn´t have a job. We have no source of income. Also I would like to work and do business, but I don´t have the means. I also want to send all my children to school. Only two of them have a place there. I appreciate very much the care that the MSF doctors do to us. They give us food and blankets and take care of us. 

Laraba Mustapha 

I'm from the town of Konduga and I'm 30 years old. I brought my son, three-year-old Bukar Mustapha, who is very sick. We came here 16 days ago but he has been sick for three months. I have no money to take him to the hospital and did not know about this place, that was why for three months I was giving him traditional medicine. I heard people talking about one hospital where people receive free treatment – the MSF health facility in Bolori – so I went there with him and they referred us here. He has oedema, cough and diarrhoea. Boko Haram invaded our village and asked us to either join them or leave the town. We chose to leave and moved to Bale, a village on the outskirts of Maiduguri, two years ago. Last year, my husband was killed. My elder sister's son was also killed and my brother-in-law.

My parents are here, too, in Maiduguri, but 20 of my relatives, mostly my mother's siblings, are missing for two years now. I have three children and we now live near Dala Bus Stop in mud houses. Everyday we go out with my children to beg. It is now very difficult to survive because I hardly make 100 naira in a day, far less than one dollar. My major challenge is hunger and we sometimes go to bed hungry. I don't know if I want to go back to Konduga, but that also depends on my mother. If she wants to go back, we will go, but if she doesn´t , we will stay in Maiduguri.