Actualités

Assisting women and girls despite the threat of Boko Haram

7 avril 2015

Amid fears of terrorist attacks, UNFPA staff have joined their UN colleagues in meeting the needs of the estimated 50,000 Nigerian refugees in the Minawao camp in Cameroon.

 

Recent years have seen an escalation in attacks on villages and towns located near Lake Chad, by Boko Haram – a terrorist group listed on the UN Security Council Al-Qaida sanctions list in 2014. Previously confined to the north-eastern states of Nigeria, the violence has spilled across the borders into neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

In Cameroon, despite efforts from security forces to stem the increasingly frequent incursions from the armed group into the Far North Region, the local population has been subject to attacks and raids, with many lives lost and communities destroyed.

It is estimated that there are between 70,000 and 100,000 internally displaced persons who have fled their villages to escape the Boko Haram's devastation in the country.

UNFPA staff in the area have joined their other UN colleagues at the new One UN House, recently setup in the Far North Region capital city of Maroua, to offer better assistance to the estimated 50,000 refugees from Nigeria in the Minawao camp.

All UN staff are living at high security alert levels in the office and at home, with a nightly curfews restricting movement from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

UNFPA is coordinating a multifaceted response to the needs of refugees in Minawao camp. The response has three pillars:

• increase the availability and capacity of health professionals to provide quality reproductive health services

• ensure availability of equipment and medicines for safe deliveries and the basic dignity of pregnant women

• communicate with women and youth regarding the use of reproductive health services for pregnancy, family planning and gender-based violence.

Also, UNFPA will be collecting data to facilitate the planning of the UN's humanitarian assistance at the camp.

The massive influx of refugees has increased the strain on the health facilities – historically understaffed in quality and quantity – serving the local communities. Since the fourth quarter of 2014, UNFPA has supported the only three functioning health facilities in the affected zones, including the refugee camp health post, with 1,200 obstetric kits and 2,300 dignity kits.

In the coming days, 20 health providers will be trained on Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) and deployed in health facilities and through mobile clinics to provide quality maternal and newborn services and medical management of sexual and gender-based violence. Fourty community outreach workers will also be trained and deployed to implement sensitization activities involving refugees and the host population.