Second intervention during the thematic segment of the 36th PCB meeting on HIV in emergency contexts
Delivered by Obatunde Oladapo, Africa NGO Delegate
The statistics are chilling: it is estimated that one woman out of three will be sexually abused in her lifetime. But according to Professor Babatunde Osotimehin of UNFPA, that number goes up considerably in violence and conflict situations.
Insurgency in North-Eastern Nigeria has pushed up the numbers of women and girls sexually violated. Much of it is invisible because women and girls violated are more concerned with the stigma of their situation than admitting any assault. Details of hundreds of women liberated from territories previously held by the Boko Haram insurgents are murky as no one is certain who is pregnant or what’s to be done about them. Instead, many of them have gone underground away from public radar and are living without the physical and emotional support they badly need.
It has been reported that internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Borno state alone have swelled to almost 50,000 while a steady stream of persons fleeing into the IDP camps is unabated. 80% of the IDPs are children and women.
Nigeria’s National Demographic and Health Survey reports about 26.5 percent acute malnutrition at the Sahel belt, which stretches from Northern Nigeria up to Chad, Niger and some parts of Mali. This means that before the insurgency there was high level of malnutrition among people in this area. If they were malnourished when there was no crisis, you can be sure that their situations have worsened with the insurgency.
Many taking refuge in IDP camps are grappling with problems of access to clean and potable water, poor sanitation including human waste disposal, heightened risk and incidence of malaria, truncation of education of young persons and children and loss of means of livelihood.
Access to ARV treatment services among people living with HIV as well as DOTS for TB treatment in these areas have been impeded with the attendant threat of treatment failure in PLHIV and increased cases of drug-resistant TB.
In the light of the above, the NGO Delegation hereby calls for a response to the emergency in North-Eastern Nigeria predicated on saving lives and providing protection. We need to focus on HIV in humanitarian context in contingency planning and development of the UNAIDS Updated Strategy.
We observe that civil society organizations and communities are being left behind in responding to emergency situations. In pursuing this matter, the NGO Delegation calls for funding of local NGOs working in these situations, and innovative housing and other protection efforts for IDPs and other refugees. We call for increased funding and resource mobilization for HIV in Emergency as well as dedicated budget for quick Impact projects.
In conclusion, we hereby call for UNAIDS to strengthen efforts on protection of IDPs and refugees in order for them not to be left behind. Without doing this, we would be preparing not to meet our 90-90-90 targets. Thank you.