Ivoirian Refugees Find Help in Ghana
ELUBO AND HALF ASSINI, Western Ghana -- Even as the political crisis in Cote d'Ivoire winds down, the UNFPA Country Office in Ghana is participating in the efforts to provide aid to over 5,000 refugees who arrived in the country at the height of the conflict.
Refugees entered the Western region of Ghana through the border at Elubo and Half Assini, where two camps, Ampain and Eagle Star, have been set up to accommodate them. Although the political situation in Cote d'Ivoire has improved since the arrest of former President Laurent Gbagbo on 11 April, many refugees still cannot go home.
Catering to women's needs
At the Ampain camp, where at least 25 pregnant women were identified, a mobile clinic was quickly set up to offer antenatal care. A midwife visits the camp twice a week to provide basic reproductive health services including antenatal care, short-term family planning, condom distribution and emergency non-risk deliveries. Risky deliveries are sent to referral facilities in the area.
To support the reproductive health and dignity needs of the refugees, UNFPA has so far provided 825 dignity kits (underwear, sanitary pads, soap and other useful supplies) to women and girls through UNHCR. Moreover, clinics and health facilities were provided with emergency kits to deal with safe deliveries, basic rape treatment, and the treatment of sexually transmitted infections for a refugee population of up to 10,000.
Additional support will be provided to regional and district health services, in terms of supplies and medical kits. As such emergency situations exacerbate the vulnerability of girls and women, the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service will train police personnel in the Ampain township on gender-based violence, with support from UNFPA. This will enable police officers to handle rape cases brought forward by the community.
Relocating refugees to better areas
Still, more needs to be done. The Ghanaian government plans to relocate the Ampain camp site from the Western region to the Central region of Ghana due to inadequate capacity of the camp to house the current population of 3,030 people. UNFPA will preposition reproductive health kits by the end of next week in this region to support the reproductive health needs of the intended refugee population.
A new camp site has also been established at Berekum, in the Brong Ahafo regionl, where reproductive health kits will be sent to the regional health directorate. This camp currently has a total of 700 people including at least 20 pregnant women who are living within host communities and in the camp.
Reporting by Doris Mawuse Aglobitse and Bridget Asiamah