Malnutrition Worsens Disease Outbreaks Among Population Displaced By Boko Haram In Northeastern Nigeria
Science: Hunger amplifies infectious diseases for millions fleeing the violence of Boko Haram
“…[Nigerians uprooted by Boko Haram] are crammed into squalid camps and towns already too destitute to deal with the influx. Food, water, and sanitation are scarce or nonexistent, leaving few options other than open defecation. The camps and slums provide a perfect breeding ground for disease. In a deadly cycle, malnutrition renders children more susceptible to infection and less able to fight it. Epidemics of measles and malaria rage, and polio has resurfaced. Child mortality is off the charts, ‘two, three, four times’ above the emergency threshold, says Marco Olla, a pediatric specialist with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Paris. Malaria has been the biggest killer, accounting for about half of all deaths, but acute respiratory infections and diarrhea are now vying for the top spot. It is hard to rank human tragedies, but by all accounts this is one of the worst on the African continent today…” (Roberts, 4/6).