The armed conflict that has been going on for over a decade in the North Eastern Region of Nigeria has caused vast population displacements and compromised minimal access to essential services. Humanitarian needs are deepening, with over 8 million people in need. According to OCHA, some 268,000 people are categorized as being in the worst or “catastrophic” category, while over 3 million ae facing extreme humanitarian needs.

Le persone che vivono nei campi sfollati dipendono in gran parte dagli aiuti umanitari per accedere a cibo, acqua pulita e servizi essenziali

Forced displacement has driven people in overcrowded camps, where they are experiencing a myriad of physical, psychological, and emotional problems. INTERSOS, with support of European Union funding, focuses its intervention on improving the poor living conditions of IDPs, facing limited access to basic services such as clean water and health care. IDPs are suffering from extreme poverty and lack of food, resulting in widespread malnutrition, which has led to high rates of death among children under five years old.

In this extreme humanitarian context, INTERSOS was able to run, among the projects supported by EU humanitarian funding, an innovative campaign to support the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination campaign, directly administering the vaccine to 250.000 people including frontline health workers, individuals over 50 years old and people with underlying comorbidities like HIV, or non-communicable diseases like hypertension and diabetes.

The positive perception of the community is vital to the success of a vaccination programme. Risk communication and community engagement activities – with a creative approach such as the production of radio vaccination jingles or the use of solar powered radios with flash-drive to air already produced jingles indicating vaccination sites – helped overcome vaccine hesitancy and create an infrastructure which may now serve larger standard vaccination campaigns.

INTERSOS is operating in the most hard-to-reach IDP camps of Borno State since 2016, providing access to primary health services and, particularly, ensuring reproductive health services (in an area where women’s mortality rate during childbirth is one of the highest in the world), treating severe acute malnutrition cases, monitoring and preventing epidemic outbreaks (such as the constant threat posed by cholera and malaria, which increases during the rainy season).