CHELD trains IDPs on self-production of hygiene products

A NON-GOVERNMENTAL organisation (NGO), Centre for Health, Ethics, Law and Development (CHELD), has provided support for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Abuja through health care support, general and targeted outreaches,  and trainings on the production of reusable pads for the internally displaced women and girls.

The NGO, which has traversed Abuja in support of people finding solace at IDP camps, said the essence of the training was to enhance the sexual reproductive rights of internally displaced women and girls, while  reducing their susceptibility to diseases and illnesses.

It has also distributed clothes, food and household items to IDP campers.

The NGO is also embarking on medical outreaches, including mental health support, at New Kichigoro, Durumi and Kamajiji IDP camps where it provides services to campers with eye, tooth and other health problems.

Speaking during a recent visit to New Kuchigoro IDP Camp, founder of CHELD, Professor Cheluchi Onyemelukwe, said the organisation was passionate about providing sustainable interventions for IDPs and putting smiles on the faces.

“Our passion is to improve the lives of families at IDP camps that are abandoned and forgotten by relevant authorities. It is our desire to fill that gap in their lives and make them realise that the society still cares for them,” Prof Onyemelukwe said.

Her organisation is embarking on a series of menstrual hygiene outreaches that focus on educating young women on what to do during their menstrual cycles and teaching them how to produce their own reusable sanitary pads at no cost.

This is meant to discourage the use of unsafe materials during their menstrual cycles. Mentorship and education programmes are provided by experts on health, law and civil rights to boost their confidence and improve their understanding of hygiene.   

Nigeria’s IDP camps are often untidy and unhygienic, exposing women to various forms of diseases.

At New Kuchgoro visited recently, toilets were not functional and open defecation was the new normal.

There was no functional health service as the makeshift clinic was no longer in use. A nurse who usually visited on a weekly basis was no more coming.  

The primary school at the camp, named Sharing Prosperity New Kuchigoro, could only contain about 50 pupils and many children would not attend school due to its small space. Some pupils used the compound as their classroom.

There were also too many children at the camp due to lack of birth control.

One of the initiatives of CHELD is to educate parents on the need to have birth control measures in order not to jeopardise the lives of their families.

“Life at the camp is already tough, and we do not want children and women suffering because there are too many people at the camp,” the Law professor said.

She also canvassed the reintegration of IDPs to an organised settlements where they could feel cared for.

“An IDP camp is expected to be a temporary place, but it has more or less been converted into a more permanent place but with nothing that can support lives. I think we need to renew attention and conversation on what we need to do as a nation about this. We need to have the government support. They can give grants around these to enable NGOs support these people,” she said.

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