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THE IMPLICATIONS OF INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT ON WOMEN’S REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH IN NIGERIA

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THE IMPLICATIONS OF INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT ON WOMEN’S REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH IN NIGERIA


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the study

            Globally, sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are fundamental to people’s health, survival and economic development. Several decades of research have shown and continue to show the profound and measurable benefits of investment in sexual and reproductive health4 Even though the government has through several international agreements, committed itself to investing in SRH, progress recorded has been stymied as a result of weak political commitment, inadequate resources, persistent discrimination against women and girls, and an unwillingness to address issues related to sexuality openly and comprehensively. This is especially true in cases of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Nigeria. According to Odu (2017) Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) refer to those who are compelled to seek survival inside a certain sovereign territory due to being forcibly displaced from their original habitat or place of residence as a result of conflicts or natural calamities 

          Ladan  (2016) stated that the concealed challenges faced by disadvantaged and vulnerable communities in their newly formed dwellings are a matter of great concern. The internally displaced persons (IDPs) residing in IDP camps face health related challenges as the insurgents  consistently breached security protocols. The continuous progression of development exacerbates the difficulties experienced by internally displaced individuals (IDPs) by subjecting them to heightened levels of physical  psychological suffering and socio-economic adversity. According to the International Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC, 2017b), a total of 2,598,000 individuals in Nigeria experienced displacement during the period of 2020/2021 due to the Boko Haram insurgency and conflicts between herders and farmers. Additionally, an additional 80,000 individuals became internally displaced persons (IDPs) as a consequence of natural catastrophes. According to the International Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC, 2017a), a mere 10% of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Nigeria are accommodated in around 150 camps that are dispersed throughout the nation. These camps serve as temporary dwellings for IDPs until their original houses become safe and secure, devoid of conflicts and catastrophes. Nevertheless, a matter of significant importance is around the provision of adequate care for those residing within the camps (Eweka & Olusegun, 2016).

            Similarly in a survey by International Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC, 2017), the camps are characterized by conditions that render them a high-risk environment. Within this context, a combination of several variables exerts an influence on the health and overall welfare of the individuals residing in these camps. According to the African Union Commission (AUC) in 2015, camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) are commonly recognised as informal settlements. Informal settlements are characterised by temporary habitation and the absence of legal ownership claims. Health disparities are prevalent in many informal settlements, as highlighted by the United Nations Habitat report in 2015. The prevalence of this issue is often more pronounced in low- and middle-income nations, mostly due to the frequency with which they experience governmental neglect. One initial measure to tackle this disparity is the implementation of healthcare services that are of high quality, easily accessible, and financially feasible. The concept of access to healthcare refers to an individual's capacity to acquire and effectively use high-quality health technology and consumables in a timely manner for the purpose of maintaining good health (Akuto, 2017). IDPs continue to encounter difficulties in relation to various health conditions, such as trauma, malnutrition, starvation, diarrhoea, acute respiratory infections, fever, malaria, measles, pregnancy-related complications, depression, and sexually transmitted diseases (Geranda et al., 2015).

            Without a doubt, during periods of conflict, women and girls face an elevated demand for sexual and reproductive healthcare services as a result of their heightened vulnerability to Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STIs), including Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), unintended pregnancies, and maternal mortality and morbidity. This vulnerability arises from the occurrence of gender-based sexual violence. The provision of sexual and reproductive health services is an essential entitlement of individuals, recognised as a core human right. This right has significant importance in the context of the 2030 Agenda, particularly in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals pertaining to the promotion of good health and wellbeing, as well as the pursuit of gender equality. According to the 2016 NOI-Polls, the health challenges experienced by internally displaced persons (IDPs) can be attributed to their limited access to nutritious food, consistent meals, and adequate healthcare services. A study was done at IDP camps located in Abuja, revealing that a significant proportion of the population lacked access to essential resources. Specifically, 85% of respondents reported inadequate access to nutritious meals, while 78% indicated a lack of access to drinkable water. Furthermore, 69% of participants reported insufficient access to quality healthcare services. Although this situation is not uncommon in the North-East area of Nigeria, Human Rights Watch (2016) has noted that women residing in IDP camps are frequently exposed to sexual risks, which further exacerbates their poor health conditions and increases the incidence of death among women.This trend suggests that a greater number of internally displaced women and girls are at risk of encountering significant health problems, which raises concerns about the potential burden on the nation. Consequently, it is imperative to do further research on this matter.

1.2 Statement of the problem

            Recently, the escalating frequency of assaults against civilians and the deliberate destruction of communities by the extremist organization Boko Haram has resulted in a growing population of internally displaced individuals. It is worth noting that various demographic groups endure different forms of adversity during times of violence and displacement, with women and girls being particularly vulnerable to its impact. Akuto (2017) assert that specifically, women exhibit a heightened requirement for sexual and reproductive health care due to their heightened vulnerability to sexual and gender-based violence, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), unintended pregnancies, and maternal mortality and morbidity. The developmental stage of female children renders them vulnerable to several obstacles, including sexual exploitation.

Consequently, the ability of women and girls impacted by these circumstances to obtain adequate sexual and reproductive health care is increasingly hindered. In a report by Owoaje,  Uchendu, Ajayi & Cadmus (2023), the profound impact of displacement  on women is of utmost importance and should not be underestimated. One of the primary ramifications entails instances of sexual assault experienced by female internally displaced persons (IDPs). The IDP camps have seen instances of rape, sexual harassment, coerced marriages, early marriages, sexually transmitted infections, and inadequate reproductive healthcare, resulting in elevated rates of baby and mother death. The occurrence of rapes and sexual exploitation targeting women and girls has increased as a result of the ongoing wars. The insurgents have perpetrated a multitude of atrocities against women and girls in Northeast Nigeria, including but not limited to abduction, coerced religious conversion, physical and psychological mistreatment, compelled labour, coerced participation in suicide missions, forced marriage, rape, and many other forms of sexual abuse. These actions have posed significant threats to the well-being and safety of women and girls in the region. Pregnant women comprise around 14% of the female population. A mere 20.7% of the expectant women availed themselves of prenatal care, and among this group, 27% of the pregnancies resulted in miscarriage, while 10.8% culminated in stillbirth. The analysis of the participants' sexual history revealed that about 76.1% (455 respondents) reported engaging in sexual activity throughout their time in the IDP camps. Conversely, the remaining 23.9% either did not engage in sexual activity or had not engaged in sexual intercourse since their arrival in the camps.The number 26 is the numerical value that represents a quantity or position in a sequence.   

            In similar study, Kim, Torbay & Lawry (2017), numerous women who are refugees or internally displaced persons (IDPs) encounter undesired, unanticipated, and inadequately spaced pregnancies. This predicament arises from limited availability of contraceptive services and supplies, overwhelmed healthcare providers with insufficient time for client education and counselling, societal pressure exerted by husbands or other family members to promote population growth, and a rise in incidents of sexual assault and engagement in prostitution. Refugees face an elevated susceptibility to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and gender-based violence in comparison to more settled communities.

            Hence, it is apparent that the prevailing conditions necessitate the implementation of efficacious approaches to address the sexual and reproductive health issues encountered by women and girls who have been internally displaced (IDPs). Nevertheless, despite the evident academic inquiries prompted by the circumstances surrounding internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the imperative to examine and use their consequences for the development of public policies, existing research has given only cursory consideration to this crucial area of study. The existing literature has not adequately addressed the consequences of internal displacement on women's reproductive health in Nigeria. Instead, the focus has primarily been on implementing short-term remedies to ameliorate their challenges. This study was done under a specific context.

1.3       Objective of the study

The broad objective of this study is focused on the implications of internal displacement women’s reproductive health in Nigeria. Other specific objectives includes:

i.          To examine the sexual and reproductive health conditions of internally displace women and girls in Nigeria

ii.        To investigate the causes of poor sexual and reproductive health condition of internally displace women and girls in Nigeria

iii.      To find out if there is any significant implication of  internal displacement on Women’s Reproductive Health in Nigeria

1.4       Research Questions

i.          What are the sexual and reproductive health condition of internally displace women and girls in Nigeria

ii.        What are the causes of poor sexual and reproductive health condition of internally displace women and girls in Nigeria

iii.      Is there any significant implication of  internal displacement on Women’s Reproductive Health in Nigeria

1.5       Research hypotheses

Ho: There is no significant implication of  internal displacement on Women’s Reproductive Health in Nigeria

Hi:  There is a significant implication of  internal displacement on Women’s Reproductive Health in Nigeria

1.6       Significance of the study

The findings of this research would provide useful information to psychological centers, and clinical psychologist who seeks to offer therapeutic services to help victims of arm banditry to deal with the traumatic experiences. This study will provide useful literature for further researchers who will conduct related research in the future. Nongovernmental organizations also would benefit from this study even as they worked with IDPs. The research will help  NGOs  provide appropriate reproductive health services from internal displaced women. To government, the study is of paramount importance for policy makers and citizens for it traces the historical development of domestic terrorism in Nigeria, focusing on how corruption, ethno-political control of resources , poor governance, poverty, beatings and blows against etc have all added to the rise of terrorism in Nigeria. The study will enlighten security operatives on the need to develop counter-terrorism strategy to enable them curb the insecurity in the North east. Theoretically, the study will serve as reference material to student and other researchers in this field, provide useful information to the general public and provide useful educational materials in the libraries.

1.7       Scope of the Study

Owing that making an investigation like this is the whole northern Nigeria is broad, there is need  to delimit the study to researchable scope hence the researcher is focused on internal displaced women selected Kaduna state IDP Camp as one of the affected State by violent conflicts with a sizeable number of internal displaced person.

1.8 Limitation of the Study

During the course of the research,  few minor obstacles while conducting the study, just as in every scientific endeavour. Lack of literature on   insurgency and it's effect on socio-economic development of Northern Nigeria  was a key barrier. Hence, locating the pertinent resources, books, or information and the data gathering procedure took a lot of effort and organization. Language was also a barrier as most resident of Borno had difficulties understanding the research instrument because it was presented in English Language, hence the use of limited sample size. Therefore accuracy of the result will totally base on the data provided to the researcher by the educated resident and the results of this study cannot be generalized for other North East state, leaving a space for further research. Time restrictions were also an issue because the researcher had to complete this research while still going to classes and performing other necessary educational tasks.  However all aspects were minimized in order to deliver the best results possible and ensure the success of the research, despite the limitations that were faced during the study.

1.9       Definition of terms

Sexual and  Reproductive Health: Sexual and reproductive health is a field of research, health care, and social activism that explores the health of an individual's reproductive system and sexual well-being during all stages of their life.

Insurgency: An insurgency is a violent, armed rebellion against authority when those taking part in the rebellion are not recognized as belligerents.

Internal displacement / Internally Displaced Persons: Internally displaced persons are "persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized State border.



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