The European Union (EU) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have treated 12,259 pregnant women and children below five years of age in Katagum Local Government Area of Bauchi State in 15 months.
EU/UNICEF Team Leader on “Hard To Reach(HTR) areas in the council, Mrs Adebisi Ibinola, disclosed this on Thursday at Jabbal settlements in Bidir ward of the area.
Ibinola, who is a retired Nurse and Midwife, said the clients were treated in 16 settlements all in the hinterland between October 2018 and December 2019.
She said that the clients were treated of cases of malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea and pregnancy related problems, while clients with serious problems were referred to Kuskuri health facility and Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Azare.
Ibinola listed Bidir, Madara and Magunshi Wards as areas covered by the team within the period under review.
She said that the programme had impacted positively on the health status of pregnant women and children during the period.
The team leader however appealed to the state government to assist the team with motorcycles or Four-wheeled driven vehicles to enable them perform better.
One of the volunteers, Malam Adamu Umar, who led journalists to the affected areas, said that at the beginning the communities were so sceptical and unwilling to accept the programme.
Umar said that the communities made a reverse when they discovered that the few ones that had earlier accepted the services were living better than those who refused to accept it.
He identified lack of transportation to access the settlements and called on the government and philathrophists to assist the team with motorcycles to enable the team excel in its work.
The community heads of Jabbal and Garin Malam Barka, Messrs Suleiman Hassan and Ibrahim Musa, commended EU and UNICEF for the gesture, which according to them, had improved the health status of their women and children.
“Before the coming of EU/UNICEF, we convey our sick ones on motorcycles to nearby health facilities which is about 10km or more,” said Hassan.
“Our pregnant women who have hitherto had no knowledge of antenatal, post natal care and child diseases were being taken care of by the team.
“Though the team visit us once in a month, the services rendered to this group are tremendous and wonderful,” Musa said.
The leaders who are also the Village Mobilisers of the programme, called on the state government to provide them with roads, health facilities as they lack such amenities as motorcycles remain the only means of transportation in the area.
They also called on the state government to sustain and scale up the programme to enable them benefit more from it.
Some of the beneficiaries who spoke to journalists in separate interviews also commended EU/UNICEF for the gesture.
Hajiya Fatima Mohammed, 40; Malama Adama Suleiman, 30; Mr Adama Sani, 25; and Madam Hajara Yakubu, 35; said that they have never attended antenatal care except with the introduction of the programme.
They said that it has helped in promoting mother and child health care, thereby, reducing maternal and infant mortality in the area.
They also called on EU/UNICEF to sustain and scale up the programme and in instance it had to end the programme, they urged the state government to sustain it.
EU had in 2017 bolstered €54 million Euro to UNICEF- Nigeria to implement healthcare services under the project titled “Strenghthening Primary Health Care and Community Resilience to improve maternal, newborn, child health and nutrition (MNCHN).
The project is being implemented in Adamawa, Bauchi and Kebbi States of the federation.
Over 1,200 volunteers in Bauchi State were sponsored by European Union called Community Oriented Resource Persons (CORPs) in their localities to link up Hard-To-Reach settlements.
In Bauchi, 45 health workers, nurses/midwives, community health extension workers, record officers and volunteers were engaged under “Hard To Reach (HTR) in nine councils of the state.
The councils are Alkeleri, Bauchi, Toro, Ninge, Ganjuwa, Misau, Katagum, Zaki and Gamawa Local Government Areas.
The workers comprising nine teams are providing integrated services including ANC, PNC, management of labour and delivery of pregnant women, immunisation, nutritional screening and treatment of common childhood ailments in 1,200 settlements in the state.