Many on the fringes of society have lost their lives as a result of poor healthcare services. In Nigeria, the healthcare needs of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) readily come to mind in this respect. The issue of poor healthcare system is one of the major problems faced by Nigerians generally. It is an important issue the government in particular must address. Most victims of this problem are the less privileged in the rural areas. But of more particular attention in this article, is the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who can barely afford proper medical attention in good hospitals.
In fact, according to the Nigerian-based NOIPolls (2014), results showed that access to basic health care services (including personnel and facilities) in the IDP camps are very poor. For example, 7 in 10 IDPs (70 percent) indicated that they do not have access to healthcare, with only 30 percent affirming some access to healthcare. The only exception is in Yobe State where surprisingly 72% of those in IDP camp said that they have access to healthcare personnel and facilities. Obviously, the worst hit is in Borno State with only 10% access. Most often, some are ignorant of diseases and infections and their causes while some cannot even avoid being exposed to such illnesses because of their environmental condition. Sometimes, in order to get treated, they consult traditional means which is not always the best.
A lot of volunteers and non-profit organizations have been assisting tremendously in this area to ensure that the poor in the society are educated on various health issues and are properly cared for in other areas of their needs. Amongst these non-profit organization is the ARO Foundation which operates in the capital city of Nigeria, Abuja. It was established in June 2017 and is solely set out to transform lives of children through education, empowering woman with entrepreneurship skills and bringing peace and unity to the world. This foundation exists for humanitarian purposes in particular to support under privileged children and adults in the society. It runs a free educational programme for the IDPs in Abuja and does not solicit for donations.
Sadly, one of the best female students participating in the ARO Foundation’s first six months intensive programme called the Emergency Education Program (EEP) just lost her life. The programme is geared towards ensuring that disenfranchised children affected by insurgency and war are provided with free and quality basic education. The student died as a result of malaria after she was taken by her family to a nearby hospital close to the IDP camp. She was discharged that same day without proper treatment to ensure she recovers fully from her illness. Probably, if there was professional treatment given to her, a life would have been saved. Sadly, according to the mother, this child was the only hope of the family as none of the members of their family had received any formal education. However, in spite of these challenges and setbacks, we would like to express our appreciation to other Foundations in our dear country that give their best to ensure children are empowered with education the way we do.
There is need for the government to pay more attention to healthcare services in the country especially those in rural areas where there are no fully equipped and good hospitals. The state government hosting IDPs should also ensure that their health needs are covered to the best of their ability. Like they say, health is wealth.
Pamela Chinenye Obasi, Abuja.