By Emerald Awa- Agwu
World Humanitarian Day is held on August 19 every year to draw attention to the millions of civilians whose lives have been disrupted by armed conflict and to recognize those who work to bring them aid and relief. According to statistics from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over 2 million people have been internally displaced by the insurgency in Northeast Nigeria. The insecurity in this region has increased the vulnerability to diseases and hunger in many communities as they are unable to access food and health services. This World Humanitarian Day, we will be highlighting how eHealth Africa (eHA) programs support the humanitarian effort in Northeast Nigeria.
In 2016, after almost two years without a reported case of wild poliovirus in Nigeria, four cases were isolated in Borno state. In response to this, eHA partnered with the Federal Government of Nigeria and other organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Solina Health to extend the reach of polio immunization campaigns to hard-to-reach areas in Borno and Yobe states. Through the Reaching Every Settlement (RES) and Reaching Inaccessible Children (RIC) projects, state immunization teams have reached 5,598 settlements in security challenged wards with the help of the geo-spatial data provided by eHA’s GIS & Data Analytics teams.
We also provide mobile based technology that enables relevant state governments’ teams to track reached settlements by providing geo-evidence of visits by vaccination teams. Our teams continue to gather geo spatial data on constantly changing landmarks and settlements, which helps the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) plan both routine immunization and polio specific vaccination campaigns targeted at hard-to-reach communities. This equips the government with accurate, real-time coverage data which helps with planning and decision making.
eHA also partners with the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Logistics Sector Nigeria to coordinate the storage and distribution of food aid to internally displaced people in the North East. In the first half of 2018, eHA has handled over 330,000 metric tons of food for about 1.2 million people affected by the conflict in the Northeast.
The Logistics Sector Nigeria offers warehousing to humanitarian organizations working in Northeast Nigeria in order to support their operations processes. eHA manages the Logistics Sector warehouse in Ngala, Borno State and has commenced the construction of an additional warehouse in Rann, Borno State.
To learn more about our humanitarian projects and our work in other parts of Nigeria and Africa, please read our 2017 Annual Impact Report