By Elijah Ugani: Health Correspondent Follow @Elijah_ugani
The joint hospital in Ikom local government has been turning back some referred patients says Dr. Stephen Ochang, the leader of the United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) and Nigerian Red Cross Society sponsored medical outreach for Cameroonian refugees residing in five local government areas of Cross River State.
CrossRiverWatch had reported that the two organizations had trained health workers for this purpose, and Ochang who commended their disposition to services but lamented that they are facing challenges of drug shortage as well as the Joint hospital, Ikom turning back the referred refugees.
The refugees are fleeing a crackdown on the Anglophone speaking regions of Cameroon which the government of that country has continuously denied. However, over 16,000 are said to have entered Cross River so far.
The outreach is billed to last for twelve weeks and is in fulfillment of the mandate of the organization which aims to ensure that issues surrounding the population growth are addressed said the head of Office, UNFPA and program officer, Mr. Keneth Ehouzou.
“We are committed to deliver on our mandate- delivery a word where every pregnancy is wanted, every child birth is safe and every young person potential is fulfilled,” Mr. Ehouzou told CrossRiverWatch.
He posited that the refugees were already traumatized following the event that led to their displacement and are suffering from a lot of very visible diseases, which informed their decision to embark on the outreach.
The services rendered in the ongoing outreach include general medicine, reproductive health, Cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) , psychological support, infectious disease monitoring, referrals and drug administration.
Also diagnosis on malaria, gastroenteritis, diarrhea, peptic ulcer disease, upper respiratory tract infections will be carried out.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has donated 19 motorcycles to the Cross River State Government to strengthen disease surveillance in the 18 local government areas.
The state coordinator, Dr. Tom Igbu said the WHO is pleased to make the donation in a bid to enhance disease surveillance, build a highly sensitive and robust system to rapidly respond to diseases.
“I hope the motorcycles will go a long way to access those hard to reach areas as I look forward to getting a better response and result henceforth from disease surveillance control,” Dr. Igbu said while presenting the motorcycles at the WHO office in Calabar and urged the state government to ensure that the motorcycles are properly maintained and put to good use by the surveillance officers.
The Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers (DSNOs) play major role in active surveillance through visit to community health facilities and linking with key community informants on out breaks or suspected outbreak of diseases.
And, the Commissioner for Health and CrossRiverWatch Man of The Year 2017, Dr. Inyang Asibong, assured that the motorcycles will be put to good use.
Also, the Director General of the Cross River Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Betta Edu who noted that surveillance served as early warning system for impending public health emergencies, said the motorcycles will the DSNOs access and respond to villages with highly vulnerable population preventing spread of infectious diseases.