While we have fun in the world creating our goals and achieving our dreams in the comfort of our homes, there are lots of people in Nigeria alone that are exposed to lots of social, health, and, other crises. These said people are whom we term IDPs.
IDPs means, Internal Displaced Persons and according to statistics and our Nigeria ranks as the country with the 3rd highest internally displaced persons in the world. This title (IDPs) only applies to those displaced persons within the boundaries of their nation. For those persons who got led out of their country due to forceful natural and unnatural causes, are termed,Refugees.
Today, we are throwing light on those stateless persons who are confined to several DP camps in Nigeria.
WHO ARE IDPS?
DP are people who are forced to move out of their homes and states due to unforeseen challenges that befell them. While other people make moves from one house, state, city,and country to another as a step of progress or personal goals achievements.IDP’s are compelled out of their homes and lands.
There are lots of reasons why a person is left stranded with nowhere left to go or stay. Some of these factors are natural like in the cases of hurricane, tornado, landslide, earthquakes, volcano eruptions and much more.
Though Nigeria experiences only a few of the natural disasters like flood, we are not left out of the human engineered causes. Human causes of displacement include war, insurgencies, terrorism, genocides, political instabilities, and persecutions to say the least.
When such situation occurs, the mass number of people are left with no place to go. Hence, they become displaced persons. In such condition, the only option left is to either live in the open, at the floors of abandoned shops, houses, secluded corners of the streets, under bridges, and uncompleted buildings.
For this reason, the government both internally and internationally alongside humanitarian organizations work hard to create camps where this set of people can find a place to call home till they can be up and running.
As stressed earlier, when such persons find their way into international territories as displaced people, these individuals are termed,refugees. Though both groups of DP’s pass through lots of challenges, the condition of things for refugees are preferable than that of the IDP’s. Why? You may ask.
The reason for this difference lies in the lots of treaties and bodies involved in international camps. Also, people admitted are screened for health challenges and attended to accordingly, in most countries. However, the same cannot be attested for among internally displaced persons.
As you devour this literary piece, you might conceive the thoughts that this set of people are few. Sadly, even for those who are leaving in Nigeria, we know that such opinion is far from the truth. The world houses about 8 billion people, out of this lot, a staggering 27.8 million people are displaced. This record holds true as of 2015
Based on this record of IDP’s in roughly two years ago, you can understand that the number might have doubled or tripled with the continuous deterioration of social and political standards in various countries, and the natural disasters a muckle of people had to live through in the past two years.
However, working with the data presented, you can agree that about 66,000 people per day, are displaced in the world. With Nigeria leading as the third largest displaced persons following after Syria, you can figure out how ugly the situation is right under your noses.
Major Causes of Internal Displacements In Nigeria
We can not inform you of the health challenges of IDP’s in Nigeria without first enumerating the root causes of these problems.
- Ethnic Intolerance
Several years ago, we could laugh and chat about things that are conflictive in interest among friends of different ethnic backgrounds. These matters we touch, no matter how enraging it could be, usually comes to anend with several mouth exchange. However, as the years went by, the current state of tolerance between ethnic divide has almost zeroed.
Also, our country is divided into three major ethnic groups: the Igbos, Hausas, and the Yorubas. These three groups are always competing with each other for dominance and national share.Why it was peaceful before, or less harmful, now, some members of these groups have turned towards the use of force and violence to speak out their mind to the public and the government.
Examples of these set of actions include Herds Men.
- Religious Battle
As a Nigerian, you know that religious wars and conflicts tend to erupt from time to time in the country. Sadly, the radical Islamic sects are the ones who mostly encourage religious insurgencies. We cannot forget the current Boko Haram activities.
- Ecology Challenges
From oil spillage in the south. Drought in the North, and Flood in the West and South, Nigeria deals with several natural,life-endangering, occurrence. These issues have led lots of citizens of the country to evacuate their homes with no place left to go.
- Militancy and Other Sects
The idea of not knowing this set of individuals who are fighting for more care from the government regarding their states: Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Imo, Cross Rivers, and more.
Despite fighting a good cause, their mode of demanding the ears of the federal government have led to military confrontation. This move from both parties has set residents of the region in harm’s way which has encouraged the number of displaced persons in the country. Example of such groups in Nigeria are the Niger Delta Avengers, MEND (movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta) BIAFRA agitation for secession, Boko Haram militants and so on.
Major Health Challenges Facing IDP’S In Nigeria Today
Here is the list of outbreaks and health challenges our fellow citizens in IDP camps have to live through due to several factors ranging from lack of care to root causes.
Measles is a viral infection. It is most likely found in kids. However, there are cases of it affecting adults too. In Nigeria, the cases of Measles outbreak is below 10 thousand, but that figure is enough to give you an insight of what lots of kids have to deal with.
In the IDP camps this year, we were able to record several outbreaks of this Virus in just a few months into the year. While the infection has a cure, Nigeria witnessed lots of death of infants due to lack of medical care.
The figures of children who had to exit this world in various camps ranged from seven to 15.
At one of the camps, a measles outbreak lasted more than nine days before Public Health workers were encouraged to step in. While the malady was finally cured, several parents had to see their children go.
This malady is an old health challenge in the country. The cause of its spread back over the years included lack of adequate hygiene education. However, the fundamental reason stems from a Plasmodium parasite; this Parasite gets transmitted from the bites of infected mosquitoes.
The people occupying IDP camps have different levels of education and loose hygiene mentality by workers. For this reason, one cannot wonder why from time to time people have to deal with Malaria challenge within the camp.
Despite this assertion, in several camps, workers are trying their best to curtail the outbreak of this disease. However, factor on the number of people dwelling in their sites, they are unable to attain to all sick folks which lead to death.
While the government makes reluctant moves until recently, several Health organizations have taken it as their responsibility to provide as much care as they can.
Presently, the Federal government has promised to install about $300 million into the battle of Malaria. While this is such splendid news, words speak louder than action.
3) Cerebrospinal Meningitis
It has not been long that this infection increased its reach in the country. Even the House of Senate expressed that IDP camps and Prisons are perfect places for this malady to thrive.
This illness is the result of a bacteria known as Neisseria Meningitides. The infection affects the thin covering of the brain and spinal cord named Meninges. When the disease has taken hold of an individual, symptoms like confusion, stiff neck, and more occur.
Just last year, 2017, in few days of the outbreak, the NCDC recorded about 2,997 cases in several places among 16 states. The government continues to take great strides to prevent the occurrence of this disease. However, to ensure victory, the government needs to bring in more significant efforts
The outbreak of undernourishment is no news in the country. With the current situation of the economy, the average Nigerian stand at a risk of becoming severely malnourished everyday.
The state of things in the IDP camp is worse than it is outside. According to data gathered by UNICEF about 1.4 million individuals in the IDP camp are in danger of Cholera outbreak. A condition that we will not have to worry about had there been good food and water for people to eat and drink.
While the front role citizens of the country work on their personal goals, the government needs much assistance in battling the undernourishment plaguing the IDP’s. It has not been too long that the information regarding 350,000 at-risk children was published.
The government, police force, and other security and health organizations are putting all they can to reduce the occurrence. Despite all these inputs, we need a lasting solution to curb the menace.
5) MENTAL HEALTH CHALLENGE
When awful situations befall humans, we suffer depression, anxiety, and even psychosocial adjustments. This occurrence becomes truer for people who are forced out of their lives and homes; individuals who can no longer go back to how things were.
At some point these people feel reluctant to live, they conceive the idea that they can not get back up. The situation is the same even after they get admitted into an IDP camp.
A study shows that about 1.5 million cases of post-trauma issues arise yearly in Nigeria with a more significant percent coming from IDP camps.
6) SEXUAL HEALTH CHALLENGE
- Sexual Harassment
One might think that a camp secured and controlled by the government will not have to deal with awful cases like this. However, facts over time disagree.
While an IDP camp is not a place,one can honestly call home, or get the privacy they need, some level of security and rights are to be upheld. Several cases regarding sexual harassment come to the public ears, in the IDP camp. A few years ago, some soldiers got accused of harassing females in a settlement. Though they denied such occurrence and were left unharmed, some articles came to light on October 2016 complaining of rape and other forms of sexual harassment among the DP.
Even the human rights website covered this nasty event where they stated that Nigerian government and authorities who have access to Displaced person camp have raped and exploited women sexually.
While this menace goes both ways for men and women in the various camps across the nation, the case seems worse for the women folks. Due to the deteriorating nature of things, this year, a news publication expressed that women have decided to launch a campaign to combat the issue of harassment.
- Pregnancies and Abortion
Women and teenage girls need to be sensitized about pregnancy and abortion, to help them relent from activities that could lead to unwanted pregnancy.
While that is one angle that needs addressing, the aspect of rape activities is another concern that requires a conclusion. Because of the rise of this barbaric act and the response of the government, lots of Health organization shave resolved to distribute contraceptives among women in various camps.They have also launched sex education programs to enlighten teenage boys and girls about the risks and results that can avail itself through unprotected sexual activity.
Getting pregnant in an IGP settlement is not the wisest choice. According to intel derived from research, in Nigeria, a woman dies every ten minutes that passes due to various complications in childbirth or pregnancy period. These unforeseen challenges are issues that can be taken care off in an environment where there is adequate Health presence.
IDP sites are not one of those places where you can get the needed reproductive health personnel and equipment. Most settlements witness childbirth through the hands of traditional nurses: people who are trained to give birth by cultural practice and are unaware of how to handle complications when they present themselves.
These are the concise intel on the health challenges of IDP’s in Nigeria. For those who get to walk into a stateless person camp, the tale is worse than letters could capture. Our fellow citizens in these various settlements need all the help they can get. These assistance range from food, jobs, clothing, security, to health do not seat quietly.
As usual, we entertain questions and inputs from our readers, any question or input as regards major challenges of internally displaced persons in Nigeria can be directed to us via the comment section. Your opinion is of immense value to us.