The Executive Governor of Borno state, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum has imposed a four-week ban on visitors to all Internally Displaced Persons Camp (IDPs) camps in the state.
The move is a measure to put forward to contain the outbreak of novel coronavirus in Borno state.
The Chairperson of the State Emergency Management Agency(SEMA), Hajiya Yabawa Kolo, made the announcement during a meeting with 51 camp managers on Monday in Maiduguri.
According to her, the state took the decision as one of the strategies to prevent the importation of the virus at the camps into the state.
He added that the measure became necessary as some of the neighbouring countries like Chad Republic and Cameroon are recording suspected cases.
She explained that despite closure of the borders by the neighbouring countries, there were still influx of IDPs into the state.
The SEMA Boss directed all camp managers from Gamboru-Ngala, Damasak, Kalabalge, Banki, Bama and Monguno not to accept IDPs from any neighbouring country into their camps.
She said:”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 those 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, would 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.
Hajiya Yabawa Kolo disclosed that her agency was partnering with INTERSOS, CCCM, IOM, UNHCR, NEMA, WHO and the Ministry of Health to implement government’s strategy of enhancing protection, creating of conducive environment, promotion of safe hygiene practices with a view to preventing zero transmission in the state.
Part of the partnership, she informed will be the training of the camp managers on some guidelines to communities health workers to educate the IDPs on preventive measures against coronavirus.
To discourage social distancing on the camps during distribution especially food, HAJIYA Kolo said the agency had adopted house-to-house food distribution to discourage overcrowding.
In his remarks, the Project Manager INTERSOS, Gerard Van-Mourik, said the agency has commenced early morning hand washing mobilisation drive in Monguno, Ngala, Bama and Damasak IDPs camps to promote good hygiene practices.
“We are relocating over 12,000 residents who are living in too crowded extension to a more conducive extension, “he said.
The CCM, Shelter and NFI Sector Coordination Officer, Irene Mugambwa, urged the camp managers to be cautious especially when dealing with the IDPs to avoid being transmitters of virus.
“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 complaints 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 will 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.