Buhari directs best care for released Chibok girls – Minister
UNFPA pledges psychosocial support, reproductive health services
The Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, says President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that relevant public institution should ensure that adequate care is given to the 82 “Chibok girls” released by the Boko Haram last Saturday.
Adewole stated this when he visited the girls at an undisclosed hospital in Abuja where series of tests are being carried out on them.
He said the Federal Government would ensure that the girls were in “complete health and wellbeing.”
The President had received the girls before travelling to London, for medical attention last Sunday.
“We are happy for you. We thank God for your release. President Buhari has shown his commitment to your plight and has directed that we offer best of medical services. We are going to take care of you so that you can go out and live productive lives again. We are at your service, it is our job to help you. Please, do not hide anything from us,“ Adewole was quoted to have told the girls in a statement made available to Nigerian Health Online by Director, Media and Public Relations, Mrs Boade Akinola.
Adewole assured Nigerians that every needed commodity shall be provided as soon as the results being conducted on the girls are ready.
The Minister, accompanied by Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Binta Adamu Bello and the Chief Medical Director of the National Hospital Abuja and other top officials of the ministry thereafter held a technical session with the hospital team on the management of the girls.
He called on the medical team to setup individual chart to track the progress of each of the girls. He called on the care providers to give special attention to psychosocial services bearing in mind that the girls have been held captive for almost three years.
The release further stated that drugs and other essential commodities were also presented to the management of the hospital by the minister.
UNFPA pledges support
Meanwhile, the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, is set to offer psychosocial support and reproductive health services to the released school girls.
The agency announced it would ensure the girls enjoy same aid it offered 21 of the girls previously released by the sect in October last year.
It expressed delight with the freedom granted the teenagers after three years of captivity in the hands of the sects.
Boko Haram group, which the United Nations says is the deadliest terrorists organization worldwide, has terrorized Nigeria’s north-east, killing thousands and displacing millions of residents in its less-than-a-decade onslaught on the region.
Bombardments of public, private facilities and innocent citizens heightened and climaxed in the abduction of 276 senior secondary school students who were writing the West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination, WASSCE, at the Chibok Secondary School, Chibok, southern Borno State, in April 2014.
After a few of the girls had escaped from custody, including those that reportedly jumped out of the lorry that ferried them from the school during the midnight raid, over two hundred of the girls were believed to be held by their captors.
Bowing to local and international pressures, the Federal Government, which rode to power on repeated pledges to rescue the girls negotiated the release of the girls, in a swap deal with insurgents already arrested and detained by the security agencies. It was an option President Muhammadu Buhari would not accept at the onset of his administration.
UNFPA said in a message it made available to Nigerian Health Online on Monday that it “welcomes the release of an additional 82 Chibok girls who were abducted by the Boko Haram group and is on standby to provide emergency reproductive health care, psychosocial counselling and other critical support to the survivors.”
In partnership with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, the agency noted it continued to support women and girls who are survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.
“For the newly rescued Chibok girls, an emergency team of psychosocial counsellors and health professionals have been deployed to assist with the profiling of the girls, so their critical needs can be met. Dignity kits, consisting of culturally appropriate attire and intimate hygiene supplies, have been procured and will be distributed to help restore the dignity of the girls,” the agency stated.
It furthered that “the newly-released girls will also be part of a similar rehabilitation programme that was set-up for the 21 Chibok girls who were released in October 2016. The programme is tailor-made to meet each girl’s specific needs of counselling, to help overcome the trauma endured after being held under captivity for more than three years.
“The programme includes among others; access to quality education to bridge the learning gap created during the abduction, access to reproductive health care for their sexual well-being and rehabilitation support, and a skills-acquisition programme to ease their re-integration into their society.
“Since the insurgency in the North-East of Nigeria, 6 in 10 girls are reported to have experienced a form of gender-based violence (GBV) and many have limited access to sexual and reproductive health care. UNFPA and partners have provided direct prevention and response services to 200,000 women and girl survivors or at risk of GBV through its ‘safe spaces’ and community outreach. More than 3.5 million survivors have been provided with sexual and reproductive health care services, psychosocial support and counselling.”