From Scholastica Onyeka, Makurdi
Occupants of Internally Displaced Persons, (IDP), camp, Agagbe, in Gwer West Local Government Area, (LGA), of Benue state, have been hit by hunger and outbreak of measles disease, the camp officials have confirmed.
The camp which houses thousands of IDPs, from the host local government, including women and children, also lacks basic social amenities like toilets, water among others.
Our correspondent gathered that while six children are currently down with measles, two women have lost their babies at birth following lack of access to healthcare facilities and personnel.
It was also gathered that the only available toilet facility built for them by an organization is now being used for deliveries by pregnant mothers.
The have called on the state government to come to their aid and better their situation.
Narrating their situation at the camp, 40 year old widow, Agagbe Nguavese and mother of three, Aondona 15 years, Eucharia 13, and Naome 8 years, respectively, said she started noticing that her daughter was scratching her body but since they have no money, she relied on traditional herbs in treating it even though she didn’t know what it was.
“Recently, my daughter, Eucharia, started scratching her body, I went and brought some medicine for her but her condition is getting worst everyday because what started like rashes are now turning into wounds.
“I don’t know what to do next since I have no money to take her to the hospital to know what is wrong and for treatment.”
Also speaking, 20 year old Stephen Mnena, who put to bed some two weeks back complained of excruciating hunger in the camp saying as a result of that, she has not been able to lactate to breastfeed her baby.
“Since after the birth of my baby, my breast milk is not coming out and she keeps crying all day. We hardly see food to eat here. The breast milk is not coming out since then. We managed to buy a card of glucose but it has finished and we don’t know what to do now. I plead for help,” Mnena said.
Also speaking, another displaced person, Mrs Adoo Shipinen, 27 years old, said when she became pregnant at the camp “I struggled with it as I have no money to access medical treatment until yesterday night, at about 10 o’clock when I gave birth to a dead premature baby boy”
Mnena said “I am not happy, I’m also not feeling well, I solicit for assistance.”
Also, a 40 year old pregnant woman, Mrs Ioryoosu Udisugh said she has been experiencing severe pains for some time but has no money to go to hospital.
Udisugh who noted that she could put to bed anytime soon said she and her husband have decided she would deliver in one of the makeshift huts in the camp adding that most women give birth at the camp because there are no clinics around.
Speaking, the camp manager, Jacob Ibaah, said two women have lost their babies in the camp in the last two weeks.
“Two women gave birth to dead baby boys here at IDP camp Agagbe because of inability to access medical help. One was premature death, the other one lost the baby while giving birth. Both incidents happened on Sunday and Monday, August 12 and 13, 2023, last week.
“There is hunger in the camp. Also, the pregnant women could not get money to go the hospital so they deliver in the camp. Even a place to give birth is also a problem here.
“There is a space here, a toilet built by Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders, (MSF). That is where most women here use to give birth. If they don’t have money to go to hospital, they use the toilet to give birth since we are currently congested in the rooms. It’s really tough.”
He said “SEMA is aware. The issue of measles is also rampart here in camp. Altogether, six children are infected with measles and no medical attention have been given to them, so they are taking native herbs.”
When contacted, the Executive Secretary, State Emergency Management Agency, James Iorpuu, said the state government through his office had sent 200 bags of rice to the camp about two months ago. He was, however, silent on the health issues and other conditions faced by the occupants.