By Elijah Ugani: Health Correspondent Follow @Elijah_ugani
In a bid to ensure support for the over 16,000 Cameroonian refugees in Cross River as well as the southern part of Nigeria, the Nigerian Red Cross and United Nations Population Fund Agency (UNFPA) have completed a training for health workers in the country’s southern port city of Calabar.
There are about 169,220 internally displaced persons in the southern part of Nigeria as well as about 10,000 refugees in Benue state only; and, the head of the UNFPA Calabar office, Dr. Keneth Ehuzuo averred that the training will see some of the beneficiaries sent out of the state.
“We will deploy some of you that are already trained to Benue, you play an important role in the field. We are not expecting that the refugees stop coming or that they will go back soon, therefore it is going to stretch you a bit. In the main time, we are counting on you; please take your work seriously,” Ehuzuo said.
The five day training began on Monday and ended Friday afternoon with the trainees tutored on Minimum Initial Services Package (MISP) and clinical management of rape for health workers and first responders among others.
The Cross River State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Inyang Asibong while addressing the trainees at the closing ceremony commended both organizations for their resolve to partner the state to help cater for the Cameroonian refugees.
“As a government, we are particularly grateful to UNFPA and Red Cross Society of Nigeria for this partnership to equip our health workers with the needed capacity to attain to the health services of the Cameroonian refugees, we look forward to more partnership,” she said.
Also, the State Focal Person of the Red Cross Society who also leads the Red Cross/UNFPA Cameroonian refugees Healthcare intervention team, Dr. Ernest Ochang commended the participants commitment and charged them to make good use of the opportunity and the wealth of knowledge acquired during the training to better the lives of the refugees.
A total of 40 health workers drawn from the five local government areas harboring Cameroonian refugees were trained.
And, the Director General of the State’s Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Betta Edu had visited the trainees on Thursday and pointed out that the state will continue to support the refugees despite the aid coming in from the federal government and development partners.
She said the state is; “providing for the security, shelter and improving on their health services at all Primary Health Care facilities in communities where they reside” and sued for the health workers to be proactive and ensure that measles vaccines are given to every child at the border areas, as over 50 per cent of registered refugees are children.
Dr. Ehuzuo who was also present had said that: “More responses will come in form of medical services, delivery kits, reproductive health services, safe spaces for women and girls, as well as build institutional capacity to respond to humanitarian situation.”
And, the head of health care in the Red Cross, Dr. Ibrahim Ibrahim commended the Cross River State Government for their kind gestures of being proactive to ensure the welfare of the Cameroonian refugees.