Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
In a bid to meet the health needs of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), in Benue State, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), on Monday, commenced a three-day medical outreach at the Internally Displaced Persons IDP camp in Abagana, on the outskirts of Makurdi, the Benue State capital.
Air Officer Commanding (AOC), Tactical Air Command (TAC), AVM Oladayo Amao, said the gesture was primarily intended to provide medical succor for the displaced persons while attending to their basic health needs.
“The recurring herdsmen and farmers’ crisis in some parts of this state has created a pool of internally Displaced Persons (lDPs) in different locations within the state. Individuals who are displaced from their natural settlements and who find themselves in your situations suffer psychological and other health challenges.
“The NAF has always been mindful of these issues and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar has directed that the Humanitarian Services should provide medical services to the IDPs. This gesture is primarily intended to provide medical succor for the displaced persons while attending to their basic health needs,” Amao said.
The AOC who disclosed that about 4000 persons are expected to benefit from the medical outreach within the three days stated further that the medical outreach programme would be undertaken by a team of medical staff from the NAF Headquarters, other medical units in the NAF as well as the 161 NAF Hospital based in Makurdi.
“The team is made up of Psychologists, General Duty Medical Officers, Surgeons, Opthalmologists, Pediatricians Nurses and Social Health Workers. The services to be provided would consist of Primary Health Care for the prevention of diseases, general surgical and eye operations, laboratory tests for Diabetes, Hepatitis and HlV infection. There would also be deworming of children and distribution of insecticide Treated Mosquito Nets (lTNs).”
While launching the medical outreach, Governor Samuel Ortom, who was represented by Commissioner of Health and Human Services, Dr. Cecilia Ojabo, thanked the Air Force for coming to the rescue of the state at such a critical time when over 170,000 people who had been displaced from their homes by Fulani herdsmen were now at the mercy of government and spirited organizations and individuals.
In the governor’s words, “You are aware that we have been battling with IDPs for the past three months now and this is what we actually need now. This camp is just one out of the nine camps housing approximately 170,000 displaced persons. Aside this number, the state also has two other camps for refugees who were displaced from Cameroon.
“We are happy that the NAF has come to the rescue of the state even though we thought they would have come earlier than now as they did during last year’s flood in the state. The population of IDPs is overwhelming so we had to employ the services of nurses and their health workers to meet the health needs of the people. This three day offer will go a long way to alleviate our plight.”