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, yesterday, in Jabbal settlements in Bidir. She said the treatment lasted between October 2018 and December 2019. Ibinola listed Bidir, Madara and Magunshi wards as areas covered by the team within the period under review.She said those treated were in 16 settlements in the hinterland and that suffered from malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea and pregnancy related problems. Patients with complicated issues were referred to Kuskuri health facility and Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Azare, she said.
Ibinola said the programme had impacted positively on the health of pregnant women and children.
She, however, appealed to the state government to assist with motorcycles or four-wheeled driven vehicles to boost their performance.
One of the volunteers, Malam Adamu Umar, said at the beginning the communities were so skeptical and unwilling to accept the treatments.
Umar said that the communities, however, made a reverse when they discovered that the ones that had accepted the treatments were enjoying better health than those who refused treatment.
He identified lack of transportation to access the settlements as a major challenge and called on government and philanthropists to assist with motorcycles.
The community heads of Jabbal and Garin Malam Barka, Messrs Suleiman Hassan and Ibrahim Musa, commended EU and UNICEF for the gesture, saying it had improved the health status of women and children.
“Before the coming of EU/UNICEF, we convey our sick ones on motorcycles to nearby health facilities which is about 10kilometer or more. Our pregnant women who hitherto had no knowledge of antenatal, post natal care and child diseases were being taken care of by the team. Though the team visits once in a month, the services rendered are tremendous and wonderful,” Musa said.
Other beneficiaries like Hajiya Fatima Mohammed,Malama Suleiman, Adama Sani and Madam Yakubu, said they had never attended an antenatal care for their children until the launch of the EU/UNICEF programme.
They said the programme had assisted in promoting mother and child health care, thereby reducing maternal and infant mortality.
They also called on EU/UNICEF to sustain the program.
EU in 2017 bolstered €54 million to UNICEF- Nigeria to implement healthcare services in Adamawa, Bauchi and Kebbi states.