NGO embarks on health awareness campaign at IDPs camp
Advocacy for Development Inclusion and Environmental Sustainability (ADIES), a non-governmental organisation, on Friday embarked on disease prevention and health awareness campaign at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Durumi, FCT.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in the camp, no fewer than 3,000 IDPs live in shanties with inadequate basic sanitation facilities.
The Executive Director of ADIES, Mr Seth Adah, said that the campaign, which involved an outreach, was aimed at providing free health care services to IDPs, with emphasis on other thematic areas of sanitation and hygiene, education and improved welfare.
He said that the outreach was the outcome of a visit to the camp, which revealed abject poverty and unhygienic environment in which the IDPs were living in.
Adah stressed that the filthy environment was the leading cause of preventable diseases and deaths in the camp.
He said the most common diseases in the camp were diarrhoea, cholera, malaria and upper respiratory infections, saying that the IDPs remained very vulnerable, as they had little or no access to basic health care facilities.
“One of the major problems we discovered in the camp is hunger; the IDPs don’t have food, they don’t also have shelter.
“If you look at the shanties around, they are built with scraps; some of the IDPs sleep in the open and they need to have a sense of belonging.
“When we came in, some of the cases we saw had to be referred to the National Hospital; we also witnessed a pathetic case of a child dying of common malaria.
“We are calling on high-spirited individuals to come to their rescue,” he said.
The executive director, however, emphasised that it was important for the Federal Government to take the issues of people’s displacement and its attendant humanitarian crisis more seriously.
Adah noted that the UN High Commission for Refugees could not cater to the needs of refugees or displaced persons alone, as the complaints of neglect appeared unending.
Mrs Alice Adagam, representing the Head of Department of Health, Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), said that the FCT Administration (FCTA) had commenced its Maternal and Newborn Health Week.
She said that the focus of the week was on providing immunisation and Vitamin A supplements to children within the ages of six months and five years.
She, therefore, urged the IDPs to cooperate with NGOs that were striving to look after their welfare, assuring them that the FCTA would continue to give its maximum attention to their plight of displaced persons.
The Chairman, Durumi IDPs Community, Mr Ibrahim Ahmad, thanked the group for its efforts to address the pitiable living conditions of the IDPs.
He said that the displaced persons were quartered in the camp, following the Boko Haram insurgency which ravished their community in 2013.
Ahmad, who appealed to the Federal Government to provide basic amenities for the IDPs, said that the lack of access to basic amenities had been a major challenge facing them.
He also conveyed the desire of the IDPs people to return to their community once it was free from the menace of the insurgents.
“We want to go back home; we want them to finish the fight because life here is very difficult.
“We pay for everything here, as nothing is free; and we have no work to do that would make us to earn an income,” he said.