By Mustapha Yauri
The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) says assisted 1.6 million people affected by insurgency in collaboration with Borno Ministry of Women Affairs in 2017.
A statement issued by Ms Kori Habib, Media Associate, UNFPA Nigeria, said many health facilities were also supported within the period under review.
According to the statement, about 59,000 deliveries were performed in 2017 in the supported health facilities.
It said the agency also reached about 337,000 with Gender Based Violence prevention and response programmes.
It quoted Dr Diene Keita, UNFPA Representative in Nigeria, as disclosing these during her first official visit to Borno for a first hand assessment of UNFPA’s activities on ground.
She added that the country representative was accompanied by the Deputy Representative, Dr Eugene Kongnyuy; the Media Associate, and Humanitarian Officer.
It said the representative visited Muna Garage and Farm Centre IDPs camps.
“Some of the services rendered in those camps are the Safe Space, which provides a platform through which women and girls meet on a daily basis to rebuild their networks and make friends.
“The safe space avails the IDPs an opportunity to discuss their concerns, acquire life skills including information on various issues such as gender based violence, HIV and AIDS, reproductive health, hygiene and sanitation,’’ said the statement.
It said the safe space operates between 9 a.m and 4.30 p.m throughout the weekdays.
It added that UNFPA trained and deployed three PSS (Psychosocial Support) and two community mobiliser volunteers who jointly manage daily activities organised at the safe space.
It noted that the state, through UNFPA support, have provided permanent structures as safe spaces in Kaga, Munguno, Bama and Damboa local government areas.
The statement quoted the Country Representative as saying that UNFPA has been in Borno long before the insurgency.
“We can use our experiences before and after to guide our programme moving forward,’’ she said.
Keita therefore appealed to the UNFPA humanitarian hub staff to appreciate the cultural and social norms of the people in the area.
She said Borno was the most affected by the humanitarian crisis in North East Nigeria with 80 per cent of the 1.8 million Internally Displaced (IDPs) being in the state.
According to her, UN estimates that 8.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in 2017 in the worst-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.
“Those affected in camps are women, girls and young people are severely affected with 54 per cent of the IDPs being female and 56 per cent below the age of 18 years.
“The humanitarian situation exposes IDPs, especially women and girls, to protection risks with limited access to reproductive health and gender-based violence prevention and response services,” Keita said.