DHI health worker attending to the sick at the IDPs camp

Doctors Health Initiative (DHI), a not for profit, non-governmental organisation made up of medical doctors and other professionals, held a three-day medical outreach at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Benin Edo State recently. This was done in partnership with Novo Health Africa, a health maintenance organisation accredited by the National Health Insurance Scheme with the objective to provide health care delivery solutions across Nigeria and internationally through collaborative partnerships.

The 15-man team was led by Dr. Nkechi Asogwa, a medical practitioner and Director of the NGO, decided to show some love and reach out to about 2,000 inhabitants in the Benin IDP camp comprising mostly of 80 per cent women and children and 20 per cent men. The aim was to give humanitarian aid, medical treatment and bring hope to the victims of the Boko Haram insurgency residing in the camp. Most of the ailments were treatable and many of them had worm infestations. Most of the children were also malnourished. The children in this camp along with the adults, have meager meals and eat only twice a day depending on the availability of food. There are times they eat only once and when there is no food supply; they have no meals at all. The children in this camp are aged 0-12. They do not have a balanced diet most times.

The team, according to Ms. Bimpe Adebambo, a volunteer of DHI also inspected their kitchen and environs to check the hygiene standards. “It was discovered that at the camp, they do not have enough potable water even with three boreholes though only one was functional. When there are power cuts, the borehole does not work at all. They are dependent on electricity from a nearby village”, she revealed.

Speaking further, Adebambo said, “Some of the IDPs also had open wounds; some will need psychotherapy as they have had very horrible and traumatic experiences. The people in charge of the camp said that at times the children and women just start crying and some of them just get up and start running and they in the camp have to go after and catch them. Many saw their parents, husbands and sons killed right before them in very horrible ways. Some Neuro-Pyschiatrists had visited the camp and volunteered their services but that was not enough with so many people. Some of the very critical patients were taken away by these volunteer doctors for treatment and then returned to the camp. Some of the very critical patients seen at the camp at the time of DHI outreach were referred to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital hoping they will be attended to.”

Pastor Solomon Folorunsho who is in charge of the camp, said it was very difficult getting funding for very critical patients to be taken care of. He is working towards getting funds from individuals and organisations to assist these people.

There was one of the patients seen, a 12-year-old boy, that seemed to have fractured his hip and was in extreme pain. He fell while running away from the terrorists after they have killed his parents. He would need urgent attention and immediate surgery without which he may never be able to walk properly again. He could only be treated for pain, which was not solving the major problem. There was another case of a young girl of about 10 years who saw her father being killed brutally by the Boko Haram terrorists. She and her mother witnessed their father and husband being flayed and cut. Some women seen could not even narrate their ordeal. When asked about their experiences in order to ascertain their treatment, they just broke down and started weeping. Another visit to the camp in Benin is planned for June 2016 and the DHI director has also received calls from the IDP camps in Yola where they worked last year calling for help. The DHI is trying to bring help and support to the venerable in the society and is calling on other individuals and organisations to do same and not just pay lip service to the issues on ground concerning fellow Nigerian citizens.