COVID-19: Borno Govt bans visitors from entering IDP camps

The Borno Government has banned visitors from entering all  Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps for four weeks, as part of measures to contain the CoronaVirus COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chairperson of the State Emergency Management Agency(SEMA), Hajiya Yabawa Kolo, announced the ban during a meeting with 51 camp managers on Monday in Maiduguri.

Kolo said that the measure was part of the government’s modalities to strengthen prevention of the virus from coming into the state.

She said that the restriction was necessary following announcement of some suspected cases of the virus in neighbouring Republic of Chad and Cameroon.

She explained that despite closure of the borders by the neighbouring countries, there were still influx of IDPs into the state.

Kolo also directed camp managers from Gamboru-Ngala, Damasak, Kalabalge, Banki, Bama and Monguno not to accept IDPs from any neighbouring country into the camps.

“We know we have a lot of threat around us following sighting of a suspected cases of the virus in Cameroon and Chad and we have some border towns very close to these countries.

“We do not want to go to the issue of response because even in developed countries, it was difficult for them to contain this pandemic. So, at our own level, we are positioning ourselves to see how best we can stop the virus from transmitting in the state.

“In addition at the border points, Ministry of Health, SEMA and UNHCR, will ensure that the surveillance committee are provided with all the necessary support toward ensuring that who ever is coming in and out is properly screened their health and their travel history, she said.

The SEMA Chairperson said that the agency was partnering with INTERSOS, CCCM, IOM, UNHCR, NEMA, WHO and the Ministry of Health to implement government’s strategy of enhancing protection.

According to her, it will also be creating of conducive environment, promotion of safe hygiene practices with a view to preventing zero transmission in the state.

She said that the agency would also train the camp managers to have some guidelines of communities health workers to educate the IDPs on preventive modalities against Coronavirus.

On food distribution in the IDPs camp, Kolo said the agency had adopted house-to-house food distribution to discourage overcrowding.

Also speaking, Project Manager, INTERSOS, Gerard Van-Mourik, said the agency had commenced early morning hand-washing mobilisation drive in Monguno, Ngala, Bama and Damasak IDPs camps to promote good hygiene practices.

Van-Mourik said that the agency had started moving the IDPs in crowded areas in Ngala and Monguno.

“We are relocating over 12,000 residents who are living in too crowded extension to a more conducive extension,” he said.

Irene Mugambwa, CCM, Shelter and NFI Sector Coordination Officer, urged the camp managers to be cautious especially when dealing with the IDPs to avoid being transmitters of the ailment.

“You must also make sure that you have good communication skills to educate people on the information. We don’t want you to instill fear, in the minds of the people.

“Some of the things that we put together as the technical working group include separating between the two different categories of people which include the staff and IDPs or host communities and returnees.

“We need to have complaint desk working functionally where the IDPs and those at the host communities will be coming to complain or interact with us. Whenever they come, we need to provide them with the right information.

“We also needed to provide them with a referral part voice, if they don’t feel well, how will they go about it. So, we are going to rely on WHO to work with us to provide us with referral part voice on how to handle suspected case from the beginning to case management.

“We are going to support the WASH and health sector but we must make sure that the things that was advice by the government were put in place like the restriction of movement.

“It is very important that we don’t stop essential services to IDPs because they needed it and they are already vulnerable so we need to continue providing them with assistance that they needed,”She said.(NAN)

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