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Risk factors for diagnosed Noma in North West Nigeria, 2017Background Noma is an orofacial gangrene that rapidly eats away at the hard and soft tissue as well as the bones in the face. Noma has a 90% mortality rate, and the disease affects mostly children under the age of 5. Little is known about Noma as the majority of cases live in underserved, difficult to reach locations. MSF runs projects at the Noma Children’s Hospital in Sokoto, northern Nigeria and currently assists with surgical interventions for the patients who have survived and sought care at the hospital. Community outreach and active case finding are also taking place. These projects place MSF in a unique position to study Noma, and to add to the scant body of knowledge around the disease. Aims and objectives Aim To identify risk factors for Noma in north west Nigeria in terms of epidemiological (demographic characteristics, medical history), socio-economic-behavioural aspects and access to health care in order to better guide existing prevention strategies. Specific objectives 1. To understand concepts and perceptions of Noma within the population of northwestern Nigeria, specifically those affected (caretakers of Noma cases) by the disease, and controls matching these cases. To describe the epidemiological profile of all cases of Noma that have been treated at the MSF Noma Children’s Hospital from August 2015 until June 2016; 2. To describe the current Noma patient’s clinical history before the onset of the disease, the start of the disease and the care/treatment sought as well as the impact of Noma on the patient; 3. To assess Noma risk factors by comparing cases enrolled at the Noma Children’s Hospital and controls matched to cases by sex, age, and village of residence; All of these objectives are in order to assess if there are intervention opportunities in the unique Nigerian setting that could prevent further Noma case development. Methods 1) Qualitative phase: focus groups will take place with care takers (guardians or parents) of cases as well as key informant interviews with health care workers to better understand the local concepts, vocabulary and expressions used to describe Noma in this part of Nigeria. 2) Descriptive epidemiology: description of all available medical, nutritional and mental health data associated with the Noma patients operated on at the Noma Children’s Hospital over the last year. 3) Case control study: assessing risk factors for Noma using care takers of cases recruited from the Noma Children’s Hospital and care takers of controls that are recruited from cases village of residence and matched by age and sex. Outcomes • Initiate the MSF operational research agenda around Noma in Nigeria; • Improved understanding of local beliefs, traditions and language used to describe Noma; • Improved understanding of Noma patients at the Sokoto Children’s hospital; • Identification of preventable risk factors for Noma development in our patients; • Integration of information obtained into outreach programming, improved community engagements, options for preventative campaigns and overall improved clinical and mental health care of Noma patients and caretakers in the MSF project.