Abdulrazaq Mungadi, Gombe
Afghanistan, a community in Akko Local Government Area of Gombe State, is a forgotten landscape, where civilization is far away and survival is ruthless.
The community is characterised by cruel faces of bad roads, lack of potable water, absence of schools and zero presence of primary health facilities.
For mothers, this wretched community, a few kilometres away from the state capital, is the worst place to be pregnant, to nurture months of pregnancy or to put to bed. Hardly do they survive. In most cases, they die, experts say.
The reason is not far-fetched. Pregnant women in Afghanistan face a lot of hardship and turbulence during childbirth because of the absence of maternity homes or hospital facilities within or around the community.
Malam Sani Usman, who recently lost his wife during childbirth, told Daily Sun that he was forced to relocate to the community from Barunde Quarters: “I knew about the condition of the roads to this community and I knew that there was no hospital here. But I had no choice, because I could not afford to continue paying rent in my previous abode.”
Another resident, Adamu Muhammad Sale, revealed that he almost changed his mind about coming to live in his own house. He recollected painfully: “The day I was moving in with my family, I saw a pregnant woman being rushed to hospital in Kuskus (wheelbarrow truck) and she eventually died.”
Residents of the 14-year-old community, occupied by an estimated 5000 families, are Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). That may explain the state of their infrastructure. They feel abandoned, neglected and in deep agony.
The unyielding position of successive governments did not help matters. They did nothing about the provision of social amenities to the community, despite their proximity to the state capital and the abundant opportunities in the area.
Bose Isah was angry and bitter: “With just a bridge, we will be connected to Gombe metropolis. That will bring an end to most of our problems. But they would never do that.
“We can come to Gombe State and have access to social services, but not without a bridge. This gully erosion that separated us from Gombe metropolis is very big and dangerous for motorists to ply on.
“If not for poverty, how can somebody in his senses, leave Pantami and come to live here where there is no electricity, no road, no hospital, no school, not to talk of drinking water and police station.
“It is true that Dankwambo’s administration worked in Gombe State. However, we in Afghanistan did not feel the impact of his handwork as two out of my five children have dropped out of school.”
“We cannot send our children to school and have peace of mind because of the nature of our road,” a mother, Zainab Ibrahim Ahmed, said. Residents expressed hope that the present administration of Governor Inuwa Yahaya will come to their aid.
“He never came to campaign in this community, probably he might not know about us. However, we hope that he will hear about us due to our massive vote for him and come to our rescue,” Sale added.
Meanwhile, a 37-member transition committee set up by Yahaya reported that things are not well with the health sector: “The health performance indicator in the state showed that the system is performing sub-optimally compared to the national average.”
The findings highlighted the problems of decayed infrastructure and equipment, low human resources for health, poor service delivery and gross under-funding of the health system in the state. Chairman of the committee, Malam Muhammad Kabir Ahmad, told Daily Sun: that the committee recommended adequate budgetary provision to the sector to improve the overall heath care delivery system.
While lamenting the high rate of maternal mortality in the state, the committee recommended to the government to set up, at least, one Primary Health Care (PHC) centre in each ward with cluster system of four other PHC clinics serving about 2000 persons each.