Typhoid, malaria killing more IDPs than Boko Haram – Halima Usman

Halima Usman
Halima Usman

The Founder of Halima Factor Community Initiative, Halima Usman, has disclosed that sicknesses such as Typhoid, Malaria and many other ailments are killing many more Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, than the fatalities inflicted on these refugees by the Boko Haram insurgents.

Mrs Usman made the disclosure during a medical outreach which her NGO, in collaboration with the Society for Family Health, undertook at Wasa IDPs camp located in the suburb of Abuja, the nation’s federal capital territory.

She said, of the more than 300 IDPs that benefitted from the outreach, more than 200 people were treated on either malaria, Typhoid or other related sicknesses.

“If you look at statistics, malaria disease is one of the highest killers in Africa. I learnt that there is over 500 population living in here. So, you can imagine what this place would look like if there is no much medical attention to them.

“Last year, I learnt that a lot of children died of preventable diseases like Typhoid and malaria. So, we are doing this outreach not only to help them but also to bring people’s attention to this camp so that other people could also tow this path in helping them regain some sanity as human beings,” she emphasised.

Speaking on the significance of the outreach, Mrs Usman said: “It has been two years on and we have been working with different camps within the FCT like the Gongola, Durum, Kuchikoro, Wasa and many other IDPs camps.

“What we normally do is to look at the specific needs of each camp and bring in these needs to them. I must commend Mr Godpower Omoregie of the Society for Family Health for his generosity towards the success of this outreach.

“When I came into this camp, I think a month ago, I discovered that what they need majorly is medical outreach.  While other IDP camps are located within Abuja, Wasa camp is peculiar, especially it’s near inaccessibility to most people. The camp is located in a far-flung.”

Mrs Usman, therefore, called on Other NGOs and corporate organisations and individuals to tow the path of giving back to their society by exhibiting a sense of belonging to the IDPs who, by omission or commission, are not the architects of their own destinies.

“I want to use this opportunity to call on other non-governmental organisations and other spirited individuals to come together and help these IDPs. These people need attention and help because they are human beings like us,” she said.

Our reporter gathered that Wasa IDPs camp is not one of the government-recognised IDPs camps in the FCT, but is having about 5000 inhabitants who fled the insurgency in the North-eastern part of the country.

It was also gathered that the camp, in which infants and young adults constitute the majority, have been living on philanthropic gestures of organisations, spirited individuals and some paltry medical and food hand-outs by some government agencies.

Speaking on behalf of the IDPs, Geoffrey Bitrus, who is also the chairman of Wasa camp, while commending HalimaFactor Community Initiative for coming to their aid, called on government, and other non-governmental organisations to do more in that direction.

He said: “We are grateful to Halimafactor because she just came sometime last month and asked us what we needed and we told her that we don’t have drugs in our hospital. She now said that she would go and try her best to help us and here we are today. We are indeed very grateful.”

“We need more classrooms because we only have one school and the number of our school-going children has increased to more than 2500. Another thing is that most of our children are not going to school because we don’t have money to sponsor our children to school.

“Secondly, safe drinking water supply here is a challenge. We have five boreholes in the camp but currently, only two are working. We also don’t have a generator to pump the water.

“Lastly, since most of us are farmers, we want the government to help us with farm implement and fertilizer. For instance, if you bring hundred bags of rice to this camp, in two or three days these bags would finish but if government empower us to farm, we would feed ourselves, get some extra money to pay our children school fees and sort out other sundry needs,” Mr Bitrus submitted.