Conflict and Boko Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria has caused people to seek refuge in Cameroon

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Formed by the unification of former British and French colonies, the modern West African state of Cameroon was created in 1961.

Home to nearly 24 million people, the country has one of the highest literacy rates in Africa and is often referred to as "Africa in miniature" due to its geological and cultural diversity.

Since 2011, violent attacks by Boko Haram and the counterinsurgency operations of the Nigerian army have forced hundreds of thousands of people from northeast Nigeria to seek refuge in Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

During the past two years, violence has increasingly spread from Nigeria into the three neighbouring countries, causing further displacement.

By the end of 2016, there were around 86,000 refugees and 198,000 internally displaced people in Cameroon.

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) first worked in Cameroon in 1984.

Our work in the country has focused on responding to endemic and epidemic diseases and caring for displaced people.

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MSF’s work in Cameroon: 2016

We expanded our programmes in north Cameroon to assist people displaced by continuing conflict and insecurity in the Lake Chad region.

In response to the insecurity, we scaled up our activities in several locations in the north of the country in 2016, providing healthcare, including maternal services and nutritional support, in the UNHCR-administered Minawao camp.

Our staff carried out 58,147 consultations during the year. They also improved water and sanitation, trucking in 3,000 cubic metres of water per week and assisting with the construction of 32 kilometers of pipes to find a permanent solution to the scarcity of water in the camp.

In Mora town, near the Nigerian border, we offered specialised nutritional and paediatric care at the hospital and supported two health centres serving displaced people and residents.

“Boko Haram burned our house and took all our cows and belongings. They kidnapped my wife and two of my children and held them in one of their jails. My wife managed to escape and is trying to join me in Minawao, but I don’t have any news of my children. I don’t even know if they are still alive.”
Samuel45, from nigeria

The team also ran an ambulance service and started surgical activities in response to a large influx of wounded patients; 246 patients were treated following violent attacks in 2016.

We have also completely renovated the operating theatre and post-surgical ward at Maroua hospital. Between August and December, the team carried out 737 surgical interventions in the hospital.

In Kousseri, on the Chadian border, we supported the surgical ward at the district hospital, performing caesarean sections and emergency interventions.

Our staff also provided nutritional and paediatric care at the hospital and outpatient consultations in three health centres on the outskirts of the city.

In addition, we trained Ministry of Health staff in the management of large influxes of wounded patients.

We had been running an inpatient therapeutic feeding centre and the paediatrics department at Mokolo hospital, but handed over these activities to Alima, an NGO, in May.

Closure of projects assisting refugees from Central African Republic

Since 2014, we have been supporting the Ministry of Public Health by providing medical, nutritional and psychological support to refugees from the conflict in neighbouring Central African Republic as well as host communities, in several locations.

As the situation stabilised, we gradually handed over our activities to other organisations.

Find out more in our International Activity Report

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