In the wake of communal violence affecting Nigeria’s north-central states, nearly 20 doctors and nurses in Makurdi, Benue state completed today a three-day training in trauma care.
The training, organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, aimed to help health care workers better assess and manage gunshot wounds and other trauma cases. It was facilitated by two specialist surgeons, Dr Lama Dipta form Nepal and Dr Kenneth Ozoilo from Jos, Nigeria and focused on life-saving techniques to care for patients with trauma injuries.
“Timely and efficient care for patients suffering from trauma wounds can make the difference between life and death,” said Eloi Fillion, ICRC’s Head of Delegation in Nigeria. “Our ultimate goal with this training is to increase the chance of survival for anyone who enters the hospital.”
One of the course participants, Dr Amina J. Onyewuchi said: “I would recommend this course to every medical practitioner and paramedic because the knowledge of trauma management is very useful to us.”
Armed violence has increased in Benue, Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa and Taraba states in recent months. Civilians have been injured and killed and thousands of families have been forced to flee their homes and are now living in host communities or makeshift camps. In Benue state, a predominantly agrarian society, the violence has also disrupted their ability to farm and earn a living, leaving many to depend on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs, from food and water to shelter and medical care.
The ICRC has trained nearly 70 health care staff in Benue and Plateau states to respond to situations of mass casualties since 2015. It also provides maternal health care and emergency medical supplies to health facilities in the violence-affected areas, including Benue and Plateau states. Since May 2018, an ICRC emergency health response team has responded to almost 90 cases of severe acute malnutrition among displaced children under five years old.
In cooperation with the Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS), the ICRC has also been training communities in first aid. In the first quarter of 2018, more than 400 people living in areas impacted by the violence in the north-central areas have received first aid training and are now serving as first responders in the wake of armed violence.