Children's lives are being saved by nutritional therapies in an IDP camp in Bama, Northeast Nigeria.
Voluntary Community Mobilisers are changing communities by connecting caregivers to nutrition programs.
4-year-old Chimma Adam's body is swollen, and it appears that his health is rapidly declining. As a result, he cannot play like other small children his age because of this.
While on his daily rounds within one of the IDP (internally displaced persons) camps in Bama, Modu Gana Kanumbu, a volunteer community mobiliser (VCM) noticed Chimma’s frail state and realized this was a serious case that needed attention.
Fana, the child's mother, told Modu that the boy had fallen ill and had generalized body edema; she claimed to have taken him to three different health centers, but he had not received any medical attention. Modu then brought the sick child to the camp's UNICEF-supported facility.
On arrival at the facility, Chimma received first aid before being transported immediately to a stabilization facility maintained by the IRC at the general hospital in Bama. Over a week passed while he was confined in the hospital's intensive care unit, Chimma began to gradually get better. The unexpected change in her child's circumstances made Fana delighted.
Without Modu, we would have lost Chimma” said Fana. “I am glad I listened to him and also agreed to take my child to the health facility. I see a great improvement in my son. We got food as well
Fana is one of the few women in the IDP camp who heeds Modu's counsel about getting medical attention quickly and the significance of providing children with nutrition and life-saving immunizations.
For 55-year-old Modu, who also is an IDP, his daily schedule includes active case search, defaulters tracking, polio mobilization, KHHP compound meeting, and community discourse every morning in the camp. “As a father myself, I can relate to the concerns and hardships that families in the camp are experiencing. I therefore keep an eye out for the children, especially when I see they are undernourished”.
Boko Haram invaded Budumuri, Modu's hometown in Borno, northeast of Nigeria, which is 27 kilometers from Bama. After being kept as a prisoner for two years by the boko haram, he was able to escape and after volunteering as a first responder for two years, he was chosen as a VCM. He underwent a transition to a VCM when UNICEF intervention entered the IDP camp and is currently undergoing another transfer to a CHIPS (Community Health Influencers Promoters and Services) agent because of his dedication and diligence.
In the GSSSS (Government Senior Science Secondary School) IDP camp in Bama, which is home to over 100,000 IDPs, the majority of whom are women and children, who make up 45% of the total, KFW Germany and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) support the UNICEF facility.