The excavation of the toilet at the Ikom Transit Shelter for Cameroonian refugees in Ikom, Cross River, has improved sanitation conditions in the camp and prevented the spread of air-borne diseases and various infections.
Following the influx of refugees from across the Cameroonian border into Cross River and Benue states, following the violence in parts of Cameroon, caring – provision of water, health care, sanitation, etc – for them has become a challenge, one which the Health Initiative for Safety and Stability in Africa (HIFASS) has taken up, in conjunction with the United Nations’ High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
The refugees are scattered in five local government areas in Cross River and parts of Benue states. Sonia Besong is one of the refugees at the Ikom Transit Shelter. She fled the violence in her country(Cameroon) for Nigeria on October 31, 2017 and arrangements were made for her and over 200 others to reside at the temporary shelter, after registration.
The pit and pour-flush toilet units for the camp filled and spewed its contents, leaving the occupants of the camp open to infections. Thanks to UNHCR/HIFASS, a WASH analysis was carried out and the waste was treated and rechanneled, making the toilet fit to use again.
For Miss Besong, the intervention could not have come at a better time. “Before that toilet was excavated and area treated, many of the women in camp had to be rushed to the hospital to be treated for various infections they got from using the toilet. There was a lot of fear in camp when it was discovered that the health issues they were having resulted from using the unsafe toilets.
“Thanks to UNHCR/HIFASS, we all use the four toilet units and they are clean. We wash them every morning so that they can be safe for everyone and proper for use,” she said.
As one of the leaders in camp, Besong is conscious of the need to keep other refugees educated about the hazards of poor sanitation. “We explain to them the need for the constant washing and cleaning of the toilets and why we must keep germs far from us, so that the women and children, especially, can be safe,” said Besong who sees beyond the current situation in her country and aspires to continue her education when it is all over.
Disclaimer: This success story was made possible by the kind support from the United High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). The contents are the responsibility of Health Initiatives for Safety and Stability in Africa (HIFASS) and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of UNHCR.
PACR SUCCESS STORY