UNHCR COVID-19 Response – Cameroon Refugee Situation Report

In Breaking News, Health, International News

By CrossRiverWatch Admin

Nigeria 11 April 2020, Cross River State:

As of 09 April 2020, 288 COVID-19 cases have been reported in Nigeria, 51 persons discharged, and seven deaths recorded. As of 31 March 2020, 57,809 Cameroonian refugees have been registered in Akwa-Ibom, Benue, Cross River, Imo and Taraba States. Five cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Akwa-Ibom and one in Benue. So far, no case of COVID-19 has been confirmed among Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria. In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, UNHCR is working with State local level  government authorities to improve access to health, water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in efforts to protect refugees and host communities from the spread of COVID-19.

Awareness-raising activities have been organized for Cameroonian refugee
settlements and host communities – Adagom, Ukende (CRS) and Ikyogen (Benue State) – offering guidance and fact-based information on prevention measures, such as handwashing, social distancing, isolation from infected people and where to access healthcare services. UNHCR has built the capacity of refugee and host community volunteer-hygiene-promoters and WASH committees to actively contribute to the fight against COVID-19. They are raising COVID-19 awareness and making sure refugees and host communities are respecting hygiene guidelines. Meanwhile, UNHCR, through its partners, is distributing soap and providing additional handwashing stations and sanitation facilities in refugee settlements and host community locations.

Refugees and the host community in Adagom, Ogoja LGA, CRS, have created a
community-based organization called Great Step Initiative (GSI). GSI has distributed hundreds of home-made facemasks, soap and COVID-19 awareness raising among refugees and the  community at large. Refugees in Cross River are making home-made facemasks even as State and local government authorities enact stringent COVID-19 outbreak prevention measures.

UNHCR is rehabilitating the 60 patients’ capacity pediatric ward and the infectious disease unit at the General Hospital, Ogoja LGA, CRS, to accommodate/isolate COVID patients. Also, plans are underway to build an incinerator at the hospital. The hospital has three doctors and is the only government public hospital providing
secondary medical services for the Ogoja community which has a population of
over 200,000 persons.

Also, UNHCR is focusing on continuing, adapting and increasing delivery of
protection, assistance and ensuring access to essential services, including the
distribution of shelter material, core relief items such as jerry cans and kitchen sets, as well as materials for WASH support.

Furthermore, cash-based assistance is being used as a quick and efficient means of empowering refugee families to make the best decisions on how to care for themselves. The office began the distribution of cash assistance on 08 April 2020 with the aim to make cash distributions covering four months – March to June – to enable Cameroonian refugees make necessary purchases such as rent/food or other basic needs, thus mitigating some of the negative socio-economic impacts of COVID-19.

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