Saturday, 23 September 2017

Conflict In Cameroon’s Far North - Stories From Mokolo Hospital

In northern Cameroon, families have been fleeing violent conflict between the military forces and the Islamist group Boko Haram. 

Many children suffering from malnutrition are admitted daily into the nutritional department of the Mokolo district hospital supported by ALIMA. Since May 2016, almost 4,500 malnourished children have been treated free of charge by the NGO.

At the hospital, families and medical staff share how the conflict has affected their lives.

"I use what I have experienced to earn the trust of mothers and they listen to the advice of doctors."

"Boko Haram first destabilized the border before settling in my village, kidnapping people to slaughter them, and then, on October 15, 2015, the Nigerian army and Boko Haram ended up face to face in my village. Under fire, I left with my family, on foot, to Mora."

This is how Monou became displaced. Since June 2016, he has drawn from his own experiences to help care for all patients, regardless of their ethnic, religious or political affiliation. "I use what I have experienced to conquer the hearts of mothers and they listen to the advice of the doctors. All I've gone through that was negative, I want to turn it into something positive to help mothers not to lose hope. "
Conflict In Cameroon’s Far North - Stories From Mokolo Hospital
"Since Boko Haram arrived, [the price of] millet has gone from 200 FCFA (0.30€) to 300 FCFA (0.45€) for a meager cup. I sell the oil I press, but my income is not enough. I cook a pot a day, no more. " - Roukayatou, aunt of Julehatou

Julehatou lost his mother when he was 4 months old. Deprived of breast milk, he was taken care of by his aunt Roukayatou, who lives in Mokolo. Upon his arrival at the hospital, the mid-upper arm circumference measurement of Julehatou measured 87mm. This is 28mm less than the alarm measure. Julehatou was hospitalized for severe acute malnutrition and a severe infection.

"In the village, there is no health facility. I first tried traditional remedies. I thought Oumarou had a toothache."

For the last two weeks, Oumarou has been suffering from diarrhea and has been coughing incessantly. Four days ago, his mother Asta took Oumarou by motorcycle to the Mokolo hospital. ALIMA’s teams cared for him. He was suffering from severe acute malnutrition. He was taken in by the ALIMA teams, who diagnosed him with intestinal inflammation and bronchitis.

"Nothing is important except stability and health. We've lost both."
Conflict In Cameroon’s Far North - Stories From Mokolo Hospital
Aboukar, 8, fainted while playing with other children. He was referred to the pediatric emergency room of the Mokolo hospital. According to doctors, he has severe malaria and severe anemia. "I'm afraid he'll die. I have never seen a child in such a state," his grandmother worries.

Native of Banki, Nigeria, Aboukar's family fled four years ago when news of an imminent attack spread to their village. From the Cameroonian town of Mora, they resettled in the Minawao camp, which has welcomed nearly 58,000 refugees. They have been there ever since.

"After three days she woke up...I was crying for joy."

After 10 days in the hospital, Naomi John accompanies her daughter Ashifa, 10 months, towards the exit. She arrived in a coma at the hospital. She suffered from a severe infection and malnutrition. "After three days she woke up and I was crying for joy," Naomi said.

Naomi is from the village of Arboko, Nigeria. Three years ago, child soldiers attacked her village. Right in front of Naomi, they killed 4 people, then left, before returning to burn the huts at nightfall. Naomi and her family fled to Cameroon. The village where they found refuge was attacked, and Naomi's family went back to Koza, from where they took a car to the Minawao refugee camp.

"We eat in the morning and in the evening, but only if there is something left. Since Boko Haram came, we suffer a lot. E everything has changed and food is expensive.”

“In the past few days, Kotada has grown thin and has diarrhea, a cough and a fever. This morning he had bloody diarrhea twice,” recounts his mother, with a trembling voice. Kotada suffers from a combination of malaria, acute bronchitis and malnutrition. If they were late in coming to the hospital, it was because of the rain, which blocked the roads.

"In Cameroon, the accessibility of services and the consequences of the lack of free services are aggravated by the conflict. Without humanitarian aid, refugees, internally displaced persons and local people would be without resources" View Original

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