200 New Babies Born Monthly In Benue IDP Camps Raises Concern

By DUBEM MONDAY

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Internally Displaced Persons Camp, IDPs, in Benue State where persons dislocated from their homes due to incessant attacks by suspected armed herdsmen are being housed, have reportedly turned sex hubs with at least 200 new babies born monthly in just a single camp.

This is even as there are more than 17 IDP camps providing shelter for over 1.5million displaced persons from Agatu, Gwer West, Kwande, Makurdi, Logo, Apa, Okpokwu, Bururku, Otukpo Local Government Areas of the State.

Amidst the challenging situations under which they lived, including inadequate food and drug supply as well as tight sleeping spaces, men and women in the camps have however, created room for happiness by having sex and procreating to lift their spirits.

Unfortunately, cases of malnutrition discovered among children at the Ortese IDPs camp in Guma Local Government Area has not discouraged the trend as over 200 babies were said to have been born monthly at the camp.

The alarming rate of new born babies emerged from findings of the Integrated Supportive Supervision, ISS, of the United Nations Children’s Fund, and the World Health Organization, UNICEF/WHO, Humanitarian Health Response (IDP) Outreach implemented by the Benue State Primary Healthcare Board, and was carried out at the Ortese and Ichwa IDP camps in Guma and Makurdi Local Government Areas respectively of the State.

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“Today alone we noticed that there are 200 new births per month. It is quite high, and the Government needs to do something about it”, says Mrs. Grace Wende, Executive Secretary of the Benue State Primary HealthCare Board, after a visit to the camp.

She added, “The 200 births I am talking about are just in Ortese IDP Camp. I am not talking about any other. 200 babies delivered in one camp in one month; it’s huge. And we have not gotten the situation in other camps. Our findings indicate that the women there are helpless. Some women are remarrying within the camp, their husbands are not there; the husbands are also remarrying elsewhere. They are also sort of negotiating sex with women within the camp. Those are things that require that we intensify our advocacy and decision-making within the camps”.

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Wende further expressed her observations and thoughts, “But from my discussion with them, it seemed that they are not utilising the family planning products that were given to them. So we need to intensify demand creation generation, especially among the men because they took the problem there. The women are willing but their husbands are resisting those family planning methods.

“I have already talked with the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, and the Camp Coordinators to see how we can go about it. We will target the advocacy on the men for now. I’ve been in these camps often as part of our coordination beat and as part of the main role of Primary Health Care.

“We are part of the major leading partners in supporting the IDP camps in terms of providing healthcare personnel who will be providing services to these various camps. I saw chunk of pregnant women and young children and it seems that there is very high level of fertility and child birth within these camps”.

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Interestingly, the male IDPs say sex is what gives them a measure of pleasure and joy; therefore, they could not abstain from the act or stop making babies.

“Though we live in camp, we find space to sleep with our wives. When we do that, we are happy with each other and it helps us reduce the pains we are going through”, says an IDP who simply identified himself as anngu.

“So we cannot be asked to stop because we are living in camp. The only thing is that we must ensure that our wives protect themselves from being pregnant though some men don’t like the idea of their wives not giving birth.

“As for me I came to the camp about two years ago with my wife and two children and I sleep with my wife but I ensure that she uses the family planning products that were given to her by the health care people. But the truth is that many are not using it”, he affirmed.

 

 

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