By Peter Duru, Makurdi
More than 5,817 internally displaced persons, internally displaced persons, in five camps in parts of Benue State received free medical treatment as part of a 10-day medical awareness program at the camp 2 for internally displaced people in Benue implemented by a non-governmental organization, an NGO, the Eunice Spring of Life Foundation, ESLF, in partnership with the Office of the First Lady of the State of Benue.
The 10-day intervention undertaken by the state government through the National Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, began on August 16, 2021. The five camps visited were located in the communities of Gbajimba, Uikpam and Daudu III, all in the local government area of ââGuma, LGA. , as well as Abagena in the outskirts of Makurdi LGA and Obagaji in Agatu LGA.
In his presentation to the medical assistance dissemination meeting, ESLF monitoring and evaluation manager, Mr. Simon Orjime said that in addition to receiving treatment, beneficiaries also benefited from psychosocial counseling.
He revealed that a breakdown of the number of beneficiaries indicated that 3,582 of the IDPs treated were women and girls and the rest were 2,235.
According to him, âthe breakdown by age indicated that the youngest beneficiary was one month old and the oldest was 111 years old.
âThere were 245 infants from zero to one year old and people aged 60 and over. There was also the inclusion of disability in the distribution where about 35 beneficiaries were people living with a disability.
âThe beneficiaries received prior consultations, treatment and psychosocial counseling. Some of the treatments included major and minor surgeries.
âWe were also able to perform around 365 surgeries. These surgeries were performed on 323 people. Records show that around 282 IDPs underwent surgery each, while two surgeries were performed on 72 people and nine people had three surgeries, minor surgeries up to three times for three different cases.
âDuring this period, were also treated malaria, peptic ulcer and others, representing more than 300 different medical cases in the five sites.
â119 people in the five camps who suffered from depression were also referred for psychosocial counseling. “
Speaking afterwards, the monitoring and evaluation officer said that âthe figures before us indicate that we have achieved a lot in ten days and that it has not been without difficulties. The main challenge we had was our inability to reach our goal.
âWhen we embarked on the awareness campaign, we targeted 10,000 IDPs in the five sites, or 2,000 IDPs per camp; However, the figure we were able to achieve, which was 5,817, is only 58% of our target, âhe said.
Governor Samuel Ortom represented by Health and Human Services Commissioner Dr Joseph Ngbea said ESLF has contributed so much to humanity since its inception.
He said that âESLF has added significant value to the provision of health care in Benue since its inception and I have followed the activities of the NGO through its various interventions.
âThe awareness of Camp 2 Camp was very encouraging because the government alone cannot meet the needs of the population. The government would not hesitate to collaborate with the foundation in health care delivery services.
While calling on the federal government to speed up measures to relocate internally displaced people from Benue to their ancestral homes, the governor recalled that âin 2018, the vice-president went to Benue and pledged 10 billion naira for resettle the internally displaced. to their homes.
“I also call on the federal government to stop playing politics with the IDP issue, especially in Benue State, as 1.6 million displaced people that we have in the state are quite a number. important. The federal government should intervene so that inmates can return to their ancestral homes.
The Executive Secretary of Benue State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, Dr Emmanuel Shior who was represented by the Governor’s Senior Special Assistant for Emergencies, Ms Lizzy Aganyi congratulated all those who played several roles to ensure the success of the intervention.
Dr Shior called on the Governor to support outreach to cover other unreached IDP camps. He also congratulated the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigerian, PSN and ESLF for donating drugs to awareness.
âI urge everyone not to let go of their aid to the internally displaced. I know that our partners have helped us in the camps; I appeal for more support.
âI remember when we set out on this mission we had over 1.007 million displaced people, but now with the new arrivals the number has grown to over 1.6 million. I must point out that anyone who has doubts about these figures is free to do a check. The Benue government has done so much for the internally displaced; we are therefore asking for the help of dynamic individuals and organizations, for the burden is overwhelming.
For his part, the ESLF program manager, Mr. Tine Agernor, said that the ESLF had assessed the health needs of displaced people in different camps “and that is why we approached the government. of Benue State to organize the medical sensitization of Camp 2 of the camp. which they have graciously funded.
âWe implemented the first phase of sensitization in five camps for internally displaced persons and out of the 1.6 million in the camps, we were only able to reach 5,817. According to the statistical analysis carried out, this represents about 0.39% of the total figure which when approximated is as good as nothing has been done, but we have touched lives.
“We are therefore seeking to create more partnerships with the government, development partners and civil society organizations to repeat this action in camps already reached and also bring it to other camps that have not been reached.” , then to as many places as possible where we have IDPs taking refuge.
âIt is bad enough that they have been displaced from their ancestral homes and communities and we must do everything in our power to improve their health, because we are told that health is wealth. We know that as we improve the health of displaced people, they will be better able to channel the resources they have to other more economically meaningful businesses that will improve their quality of life and allow them to live better lives with dignity. .
“We also call on the federal government to accelerate measures to ensure the return of displaced people to their ancestral communities because despite the interventions that we have made, we have had our psychosocial support sessions with them and what we have heard is is that they felt bad that they were locked in IDP camps and lived on aid and support, so they want to go back to their communities to cultivate and feed themselves and then feel free as citizens of the country.
Also speaking, Outreach Team Leader Lizzy Aganyi said the intervention was a huge success.
âAccording to the data available at the end of the intervention, it was very successful because generally in the interventions, especially when it is free, you will see people coming from everywhere, even people who are not sick. . We registered a huge number of people coming to benefit from the intervention. And I can say that for those who were sick, they were treated; those who need surgery have received it and they have also benefited from psychosocial support. References were also made. In general, everything went well.
âWe are eagerly awaiting the next phase and we must appeal to the Governor of Benue State to come and help us again as he took charge of the first phase together with his wife, Dr Eunice Ortom. We know he is working on a very tight budget given the economic situation, but we know he can still do so given his commitment to the well-being of displaced people and his service to humanity. .
âWe are also calling on people and organizations of the public mind to come to our aid as we embark on the next phase of the response. “
For her part, JosÃ©phine Haba of the Jireh Doo Foundation, said âwhat the ESLF has set out to do is something that every Nigerian, every Benuelite, every individual and human being should agree to do if you are truly a person who also wants to live because if you want to live you sow in the lives.
âBut what they did was like a drop of water and an ocean. I work with displaced people and I can tell you that everyone is mentally and physically ill.
âAnd I want to wonder why we have aid workers in Nigeria and we don’t have aid workers responding in this case. The figures and the situation are verifiable. I challenge everyone and organizations to come and help the State because the ESLF can only do a few things and obviously cannot do it alone. We advocate for the children to be alive.
In his contribution, the executive secretary of the Benue State Primary Health Care Council, Dr Bem Ageda, who praised the success recorded during the first phase of the intervention, appealed to local organizations and organizations as well as to individuals motivated to help the ESLF achieve its objective in the ambitious intervention. .