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IDPs Women leader urges FG to provide mental healthcare

Many IDPs are understood to be facing various degrees of trauma from their experiences during the insurgent attacks

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Mrs Liyatu Ayuba, Women Leader, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camp, Durumi, Garki Area 1, Abuja, has urged the Federal Government to provide psycho-social assistance to all IDPs.

Ayuba made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday.

She said many IDPs were facing various degrees of trauma from their experiences during the insurgent attacks in the North East.

Ayuba said that she often saw some persons in the camp, especially women, speaking incoherently, adding that sometimes some persons take off running even when they were not being pursued.

She noted that this behaviour may have been as a result of the trauma these people experienced during the attacks as some of them lost their husbands, wives, children and relatives.

“If a psychiatrist comes to check us, I am sure that he or she will find most of us to be unwell; some people cannot even sleep at night.

“Just a few days ago, a woman died while giving birth here in the camp; she did not get the medical assistance she needed; she bled a lot and spoke incoherently a lot.

“I know that this woman lost her husband and she was left to fend for all the children which is not an easy thing to do. Sometimes she will just enter the road and be speaking like she has a mental problem.

“Some of the women act in a very unstable manner; they talk to themselves. Some will just start running away when no one is pursuing them.

“Anyone who sees this will think that they have ‘juju’, but I do not think that is the case. I think it is the trauma they got from the insurgent attacks and the death of their family members.

“Most of the organisations and agencies of government that have come to assist us focus mainly on our physical health and look out for signs of malaria, diarrhoea, cough and so on.

“We are yet to see anyone who will come to check and monitor our mental state and we need this; it is very important because of the trauma from the events that happened,” Ayuba said.

She said that there was presently a stereotype on mental disorder as a lot of people shied away from being associated with the condition even when they clearly need assistance.

Ayuba, who said they were about 2,263 persons in the camp presently excluding children and new born babies, raised concern over the poor condition in which they lived.

According to her, some of the women living in the camp have as many as nine children and they have to squeeze themselves in a small space to sleep.

“We have tried to make accommodation for ourselves using sack bags, some also use nylon to protect themselves from the rain but this has not helped as the rain still gets in and the camp is flooded whenever it rains.

“There is no toilet in the camp and a place for us to bath. Since food was distributed to the women during the fasting period, none has been given yet,” she said.

Ayuba said she had been in the camp for four years now after she lost her husband and a missionary took her to a hospital in the FCT to nurture her son who was injured in a bomb blast.

She said that since her discharge from the hospital after her son’s death, she has been selling food to make earns meet with the financial token given to her by a Good Samaritan.

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