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World Health Day 2021: Building a Fairer, Healthier World

Across the globe, World Health Day is celebrated every year to create awareness of a specific health theme. Since the COVID-19 pandemic that shook the world in 2020, health systems in even the most established countries have been disrupted and the need for proactive and preventive measures cannot be over-emphasized. 2021’s theme “Building a Fairer, Healthier World” aims to improve the understanding of universal health coverage & the importance of primary healthcare by spurring actions from policymakers, individuals & health care workers to make universal health care a reality and provide information for health services everyone needs to take care of themselves and their families.   

Since the inception of Insurgency in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria, so many people have been left homeless and helpless. Thousands of people are living in overcrowded displacement sites far below international minimum standards and without proper access to clean water and basic amenities. Over the years, several studies have also reported that women and girls were victims of physical and sexual violence in IDP camps which leaves them at a very high risk of unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, maternal morbidity, and mortality.   

Staff and volunteers at PeachAid Medical Initiative came out in their numbers on the 27th of March 2021 to conduct a medical outreach in Wassa IDP Camp. This is one of many interventions carried out by the community–based organization focused and dedicated to the well-being of mothers and their children girls living in IDP camps and rural communities across Nigeria by providing Maternal/Sexual Reproductive Health Services, Menstrual Hygiene management options, and Women Empowerment Schemes.   

The outreach was geared towards improving maternal health care and menstrual hygiene among women living in the IDP camp. With a desire to put an end to maternal mortality and promote safe mensural hygiene at minimal cost among women living in these locations, PMI partnered with MyCup New Zealand and KIT International Australia which supplied Reusable Menstrual Cups and Clean Birthing Kits respectively.  

One of PMI’s volunteers served as both an instructor and Hausa translator. She addressed the women on the purpose of PMI’s visit and proceeded to give a detailed description of what Menstrual cups were and how to use them. Detailed pictures were also used as a lesson aid to show them how to insert the cups and remove them. She also emphasized keeping the cup hygienic by sterilizing it with boiling water before and after use. To be sure they understood how to effectively use the cup, she asked two ladies from the crowd to explain and demonstrate all she had said asking the women if they have used the menstrual cup. She asked someone from the crowd to illustrate how to make use of the menstrual cup and one of them demonstrated perfectly. Furthermore, we encouraged the woman that did the demonstration to guide others in the camp that may be having difficulty using it during their period.

We also got feedback from those of them that had previously gotten menstrual cups during our last visit and they reported they didn’t have any complications during and after use. This feedback encouraged other women that hadn’t received theirs yet to willingly adopt the new method.

In total, 200 menstrual cups were distributed to women of reproductive ages in the camp. At another section of the IDP camp, ultrasound scanning services and distribution of clean birthing kits for all pregnant women were ongoing.

A primary issue observed was the dilapidated primary health care center which was certainly not conducive for treatment. It was too small to even accommodate more than three patients at a time and lacked the basic amenities fit to qualify it as a primary health care center.Asides making efforts to call the attention of the Federal Government and all institutions managing healthcare funds to implement strategies to ensure strong leadership and accountability in health development assistance and practices and  setup a special task force to coordinate and harmonize the development activities targeting improvements in the health and well-being of IDPs, PeachAid Medical Initiative also promises to put smiles on the faces of these young women, girls and children by meeting to their health needs