Public Health Implications Of The Internally Displaced People Amidst Covid-19
This study was carried out on Public Health implication of the internally displaced people amidst of COVID-19. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (the Movement) has been actively working to meet the public health and humanitarian needs of the many communities around the world affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pandemic is a global challenge, certain groups are particularly vulnerable to both the disease and its secondary impact. The Movement is committed to ensuring that they are not left out of public prevention and response activities. The Nigeria government and various state governors face the problem of repatriating displaced Almajiri children in the period of COVID-19 pandemic. The study the Almajiri children should receive care within the states they currently live in, and not be repatriated. Unresolved displacement of Almajiri children can only be a risk factor for the spread of COVID-19 and public health.
1.1 Background of the study
The World Health Organisation, on the 11th March 2020, declared COVID-19 as a pandemic and a cause for global concern (WHO, 2020). Before this declaration, Nigeria had the first case of COVID-19 and immediately activated the coronavirus emergency task force. However, as of 5th May 2020, Nigeria reported 2558 COVID-19 cases and 87 deaths. Nevertheless, there is a considerable concern whether the government is currently doing enough to contain the spread of the virus and create a safe environment for the people. Stand out among the lapses in the handling of the crisis stems from the ability to carry out tests. Nigeria, with a population of over 200 million, can barely carry out up to 1200 tests in a day (Maclean, 2020).
Therefore, the issue of COVID-19 infection in Nigeria may increase geometrically if enough tracing and testing of suspected cases are lacking (Al-Tawfiq et al., 2020). Virtually, all states in Nigeria have reported cases of COVID-19. However, what is of real concern is the Almajiri children of Northern States in Nigeria. The Almajiris is a term commonly used for children who left their respective homes to study Islamic education in the northern part of Nigeria. Immediately, the government declared a nationwide lockdown; they were ordered to go home and were unable to move across states as a result of the lockdown (Anthony et al., 2020).
Internally displaced persons are people or groups of people forced or obliged to flee or leave their homes or places of habitual residence, particularly as a result of or in order to avoid natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognised State border (United Nations, 2004). An estimate conducted in the 2008 school year in Kano metropolis found that metropolitan Kano alone had a total of 3703 Tsangaya/Almajiri schools, with approximately 1,560,611 learners spread across various levels in these schools (UNICEF, 2011). Determining the impact of the displacement of the Almajiris on the health of the total population of Nigeria is vital for a wide range of estimation, to curtail the risk of spreading COVID-19 and provide timely intervention for the displaced (Barro et al., 2020). The airborne nature of COVID-19 makes it a risk factor for widespread diseases as non-infected people can get infected from droplets as a result of sneezing and coughing by those who are infected (WHO, 2020). Consequently, the displacement of the Almajiris has raised public health concern that requires immediate intervention. Hence, this study is essential for scientific processes as it suggests possible public health consequences of displacement during a pandemic.