Women in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in Borno State have expressed happiness that they are now more enlightened on reproductive health issues, courtesy of interventions by UN Population Fund (UNFPA Nigeria).
A cross section of the women at Muna IDP Camp in Maiduguri told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in an exclusive interview that the setting up of the Integrated Maternal Healthcare Centre and Safe Space for Women and Girls in the camp was a big relief for them and the host community.
Uwani Ali, an IDP at the camp, said that the centre, apart from providing succour to victims of Gender-Based Violence (GBV), also help in creating awareness on child spacing, routine immunisation and dangers of early marriage among IDPs and host community.
She said “I am one of the beneficiaries of services offered at the centre. I am now an Awareness Officer and I go round to enlighten other women on reproductive health.
Some women even come for ante natal and post natal care at the camp. There is also the mobile ambulances that prove very effective for emergency and referral cases to convey patients to hospital.”
Another IDP, Amina Garba, displaced from Konduga, said that her stay at the camp has positively touched her life and many others, particularly in the areas of reproductive health and dangers of early marriage and fistula.
Hauwa Bukar and Salamatu Haruna who are survivors of GBV, said they recieved psychosocial support and acquired some skills and education at the centre.
“I am among those that benefitted from computer training and sewing,” Bukar said.
On her part, Haruna, who owns a sewing machine, said she is an active tailor in the camp, making money from sewing new clothes and patching old ones for many IDPs in the 50,000 capacity camp.
At the Women and Girls Empowerment Centre also supported by UNFPA, a trainer, Jummai Andrew, who was displaced from Gwoza, said few years ago she was a trainee at the centre before becoming a trainer.
She said “I am now training displaced persons at the centre, where we make things like dignity kits, liquid soap, sanitiser and face mask.”
She explained that after training, trainees are supported by the Borno Ministry of Women Affairs to form cooperative groups for support to set up businesses.
Another displaced person who also became a trainer, Amina Garba, said the reusable/washable sanitary pads being produced at the centre brought big relief to many vulnerable women and girls who could not afford to buy.
She urged politicians and philanthropists to support the centre, adding that “the IDPs have the capacity to produce sanitary pad and supply places like schools and displaced persons’ camps if given the contract.”
She said such gesture would make many of those who received training at the centre to be engaged in the production business.