From Msughshima Andrew, Makurdi
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has commissioned an integrated safe space for IDPs in Daudu ,Guma LGA of Benue state.
Head of UNFPA Calabar sub office, Mr Ken Ehozou who was accompanied by the Wife of the state Governor, Mrs Eunice Ortom during the launch said the space was part of humanitarian measures to strengthen the protection and well being of IDPs and find solutions to their problems.
He said the project was necessary as a result of the multiple crises from the clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Benue state forcefully compelling internally displaced persons (IDPs) fleeing from their homes.
According to him, the UNFPA was one of the key UN agencies driving the humanitarian response for IDPs in strong partnership with the Benue state government and other partners.
He said the integrated safe space at Daudu Guma LGA is one out of the 5 safe spaces built by UNFPA with others located at Agan, Gbajimba, Ugba and Abeda communities of Makurdi, Guma and Logo LGAs of Benue state.
“This intervention further brings to the fore the high level of commitment of UNFPA to bringing succor to the people of Benue since 2009 when UNFPA started its partnership with the Benue state Government.
“Currently UNFPA is investing in the establishment of maternal and prenatal Death Surveillance Response (MPDSR) currently supported in nine (9) secondary health facilities across the three senatorial zones of Benue State.
“Access to modern family planning methods has been shown to also reduce one third of maternal deaths allowing women to delay motherhood, avoid unintended pregnancies and subsequent abortion.
He stated that UNFPA in partnership with the ministry has ensured no stock out of family planning commodities while supporting a steady increase in the numbers of health facilities that provide at least three family planning methods at health facilities across the State.
He recalled that In February 2018, a joint team of UN organizations had carried out a needs assessment of the crisis affected communities of Benue state.
And as part of the humanitarian response, by UNFPA through capacity building of state partners on Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) and clinical management of Rape (CMR), prepositioned Reproductive health and dignity Kits.
He said the UNFPA also conducted medical outreaches to settlements where both IDPs and the host communities are located, strengthened exiting health facilities for referral purposes and created safe spaces to ensure better response to Gender Based Violence (GBV) which sadly has a higher prevalence during humanitarian situations.
He said safe spaces are strategic because it creates a safe haven and facilitates access to psychosocial support, sexual reproductive health information and services and livelihood skills acquisition.
Ehouzou said strategic state partners included Ministry of Health, Benue state planning commission, Ministry of women affairs, State emergency management agency, and Primary health care development agency.
He added that the Nigeria Red Cross, FHI 360 and Eunice Spring of Life Foundation, UNFPA is able to provide comprehensive humanitarian response services as is required by the global commission on humanitarian response.
He said Nigeria has the second highest burden of HIV, although, with a prevalence of 3.1,Nigeria is host to 10% of the total population of adolescent living with HIV.
He further noted that Benue state is prioritized as one of the 6+1 high burden states.
UNFPA working with the state agency for control of AIDs and state Ministry of health is increasing access to Sexual reproductive health services and information through the establishment of Eleven (11) Youth Friendly Centres (YFCs) across six secondary Schools, three (3) tertiary institutions and two public health facilities in Makurdi to meet the sexual reproductive health needs of the youths in the metropolis.
Furthermore, in curbing harmful traditional practices against women and girls, three LGAs of Oju, Obi and Ado (Ufia) have opted for the abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) with UNFPA intervention through several community advocacy /meetings.
“In supporting the use of quality population data to make informed decisions for development, UNFPA funded the production and distribution of the statistical yearbook (2012 – 2016)
“They also built the capacity of three hundred and forty six (346) Health Data Officers drawn from the 23 LGAs to carry out data quality Assurance reporting and upload on DHIS2.0 platform.he said.
Ehouzou commended the government of Benue state for playing an active role in supporting the various development and humanitarian interventions aimed at improving the quality of life of the people of Benue state by UNFPA.