Where We Work


Conflict, Crisis and Hunger in Northeast Nigeria

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, with more than 170 million inhabitants. Although it is oil-rich, health indicators are poor and a deepening food crisis in the country’s northeast is now Africa’s largest humanitarian emergency.

Since 2010, the militant group Boko Haram has been waging violent attacks on civilians across Nigeria, creating a deteriorating security situation, with increasing numbers of victims, destruction of social and economic infrastructure and disruption of education services. As a result, almost 2 million people are internally displaced and nearly 5 million people are facing severe food insecurity—1.4 million of whom are facing “emergency” and 38,000 of whom are facing famine-like conditions. International Medical Corps, which has worked in Nigeria since 2013, currently has teams in Sokoto, Kano and Borno states, delivering programs in health, nutrition, water and sanitation, gender-based violence prevention and response, and food security.


186 million

Life Expectancy

55 (male), 56 (female) years

Infant Mortality Rate

60.7 deaths  

per 1,000 live births

Conflict, Crisis and Hunger in Northeast Nigeria

Northeast Nigeria is now the site of Africa’s largest humanitarian emergency, with 7.1 million people urgently needing humanitarian assistance. Of these, nearly 1.7 million face severe food insecurity.

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2016 Founder's Award

Emmanuella Chizoba Unaeze was awarded our 2016 Founder's Award. Ms. Unaeze exemplifies our founding mission—building self-reliance, training people and helping people help themselves.

The Challenges

Armed Conflict

Ongoing conflict in northeastern Nigeria has left 7.1 million people in need of lifesaving aid

Famine Risk

1.7 million people face severe food insecurity

Population Displacement

Some 2.2 million people are displaced inside Nigeria and another 200,000 are seeking refuge in neighboring countries

Our Response

Nutrition and Food Security; Water, Sanitation and Hygiene; and Protection

Focusing on internally displaced persons and host community residents in conflict-affected communities in northeast Nigeria, International Medical Corps is responding to needs involving nutrition, food security, protection, and water, hygiene and sanitation. Together with the UN’s World Food Program (WFP), International Medical Corps is working to improve household food security by distributing supplementary food to an estimated 176,000 people in Borno State, the epicenter of the current food crisis, which could potentially spiral into famine conditions. In addition to providing treatment for malnutrition in conflict-affected communities, we train local residents to serve as community health volunteers and community health extension workers, equipping them with the skills to screen children for malnutrition, administer treatment (providing ready-to-use therapeutic food) and follow up on their progress.

In Cameroon, International Medical Corps is delivering emergency medical, nutrition and mental health care services to Nigerian refugees in Minawao camp. We also provide gender-based violence prevention and response services, as well as child protection activities for women, girls and boys in the camp, which is home to some 56,000 Nigerian refugees. In addition, we respond to the needs of Cameroonians displaced by ongoing violence in the Far North Region of the country, providing them with medical care, nutrition services, disease surveillance, gender-based violence prevention and protection, and access to water and sanitation.

In Chad, International Medical Corps is collaborating with the Ministry of Health to provide health centers with primary healthcare, maternal health and nutrition support to more than 20 health facilities in the Lac Region, where Boko Haram attacks continue to compromise the well-being of local communities. This includes managing the nutrition stabilization center at Bagasola Hospital and offering medical and nutrition services to Nigerian refugees in in Dar es Salam camp.

Immunization Programs

A resurgence of polio has been directly linked to the ongoing conflict, which has left people displaced from their homes without access to healthcare and humanitarian assistance. Starting in 2015, International Medical Corps has been a part of the Core Group Polio Project, a consortium of NGOs actively supporting polio eradication in seven countries, with a focus on community-based surveillance, social mobilization for vaccination campaigns and routine immunization, campaign planning, independent campaign monitoring, vaccine registers and tracking children’s vaccinations.

International Medical Corps, working in Borno and Kano states together with the state emergency operations centers as the lead, is working to vaccinate children under five against polio, while mobilizing caretakers of children under the age of 1 for routine immunization. Each month, we help provide polio vaccines to more than 180,000 children in Borno and more than 85,000 in Kano. We also train and mentor local government staff and volunteers to address community suspicions about the vaccination campaigns so that community members are receptive to having their children vaccinated.


International Medical Corps is making healthcare services available to more than 255,000 people in four local government areas, working with the State Ministry of Health. This includes identifying priority healthcare centers to be rehabilitated in areas of Borno that have a high number of internally displaced persons (IDPs). We also build the capacity of healthcare personnel, including doctors and nurses, through training and supportive supervision, specifically in integrated management of childhood illness, immunization, and maternal and child health.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

International Medical Corps is improving water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) access in six local government areas of Borno State, reaching more than 334,000 people. This includes improving the well being of IDPs and host communities through sustainable access to safe water, sanitation facilities and good hygiene practices. Improvements in WASH infrastructure are accompanied by a set of hygiene “awareness reminder” activities, as well as rehabilitation of waste management facilities, especially waste pits and waste collection bins.

Gender-Based Violence

International Medical Corps works to prevent and respond to cases of gender-based violence (GBV) in four local government areas of Borno State, reaching more than 30,000 people. While mainly providing psychosocial support, International Medical Corps emphasizes a multi-sectoral response, through coordination and referral systems with the medical, legal/security and livelihoods actors in Borno State’s capital, Maiduguri.

International Medical Corps uses women-friendly spaces as an avenue to provide services and case management to survivors of GBV. The women-friendly spaces give women and girls safe places report GBV and receive individualized case management services, including referrals to specialized and advanced care. The spaces also enable women to interact with each other, building a social support network through participation in skills-building activities. We also facilitate specific educational discussions about the causes and consequences of GBV.

To help prevent GBV, we work with a group of women volunteers at the community-level who distribute information about GBV and what services are available to women and girls. Working with traditional leaders, we also host GBV awareness sessions for men in the community.

Our Impact

Our response includes distributing food to an estimated 176,000 people in Borno State
We train volunteers and community health extension workers, equipping them with the skills to screen children for malnutrition, administer treatment and follow up on their progress.



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