By Ocheiga Enoch Oloche
More than 72 new births have been recorded in the last two weeks, in camps established in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, for persons displaced by the recent invasion of some Benue communities by suspected Fulani mercenaries.
At the LGEA Primary School, Wurukum, Saint Mary’s Primary School North Bank, and LGEA Primary School, Ichwua, yesterday, it was discovered that most of the babies were delivered in the camps without proper medical care.
However, most of the babies were in good condition but the nursing mothers were in calamitous need of good food and proper medical attention.
Another challenge facing the new babies and their mothers was the non-availability of mosquito-treated nets for their personal use and safeguard from mosquito bites.
One of the nursing mothers at the LGEA Primary School, Wurukum, who gave her name as Mrs. Monica Lubem said she gave birth to her baby one week ago without the assistance of a midwife. She said, “I gave birth to my baby about seven days ago. When my labour started, I could not get to the hospital because of our situation, so women gathered and helped me to deliver my baby girl. That is also what happened to about 16 of the women who recently gave birth to new babies in this camp. Our main problem is that most of us do not have access to good food and proper devotion for our babies. We also do not have enough mosquito nets to sleep with in our open camp.”
Similar complaint was also raised by Comfort Terna who gave birth to a baby boy at the Ichwa camp two days ago. She said, “It has not been easy for us. Since delivering my baby, I have not been able to access proper medical attention; besides, getting good food to eat is also a major problem for use. Only recently we were given some food supplements, nets, wrappers and blankets by the Director General of NAFDAC. Beyond that, we are actually going through harrowing pains.”
When contacted, the Executive Secretary of the Benue State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, Mr. Adikpo Agatse said the issue in question was within the purview of the state Ministry of Health. He said, “Moreover the displaced person has been advised to make use of all government health facilities in the North Bank area of Makurdi metropolis if they are having any health challenges.”