Doctors Health Initiative (DHI), a not for profit, non-governmental organization made up of medical doctors and other professionals, held a 3 day medical outreach at the Internally Displaced People’s (IDP) camp in Benin Edo State between the 12th to the 14th of February, 2015. This was done in partnership with Novo Health Africa, a health maintenance organization accredited by the National Health Insurance Scheme with the objective to provide health care delivery solutions across Nigeria and internationally through collaborative partnerships.
The team of about 15 people was led by Dr. Nkechi Asogwa, a medical practitioner and Director of the NGO. The members of the organization and some volunteers including medical doctors, nurses, pharmacists and nutritionists, decided to show some love and reach out to about 2,000 inhabitants in the Benin IDP camp comprising mostly of 80 % women and children and 20 % 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 and most of the children were 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.
Some well-meaning individuals and companies like the wife of the Edo State governor donate food items for the camp sporadically but this is not enough with so many little mouths to feed.
The team also inspected their kitchen and environs to check the hygiene standards. It was discovered that at the camp, they do not have enough portable water even with three boreholes though only one was functional. When there are power cuts, the bore hole does not work at all. They are dependent on electricity from a nearby village.
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-physciathrists 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 but that he will source for it so that the very critical patients can be taken care of. Dr. Asogwa hopes and is working towards getting funds from individuals and organizations 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 be needing 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 been killed brutally by the Boko Haram terrorists. She and her mother witnessed their father and husband been 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. Last year, DHI under the umbrella of Foundation for African Cultural Heritage (FACH), a coalition of NGOs visited and gave humanitarian aid over a 4-day period to victims of the Boko Haram insurgency at 2 major IDP camps in Yola. The IDPs were attended to medically, given clothes, footwear and most especially a lot of food items.
DHI is grateful to all her volunteers who selflessly gave themselves and their time. They would never forget this humanitarian help to their fellow human beings.
The DHI is only trying to bring help and support to the venerable in our society and is calling on other individuals and organizations to do same and not just pay lip service to the issues on ground concerning fellow Nigerian citizens.
Written by Ms. Bimpe Adebambo
Some of the pictures of the recent Health outreach are attached.