From: Agaju Madugba, Katsina
A non-governmental organisation, Save the Children International (SCI), says it is not its responsibility to provide portable water for communities where it operates.
Apart from its intervention and campaign for sustainable routine immunisation of children, the SCI has also for several years been in the vanguard for the combat of malnutrition ravaging a number of communities in the state.
Speaking, on Tuesday evening, after a meeting with wards development committees at Dan-Musa in Dan-Musa Local Government Area of Katsina State of Nigeria, the SCI Local Engagement Officer, Malam Abdulwahab Yusuf, told reporters that his group’s mandate did not include the provision of portable water and security for the communities.
“We have trained them on advocacy strategies,” Yusuf said, adding that, “if government cannot provide certain critical facilities for the people, they should approach their representatives at both the state House of Assembly and the National Assembly as well as some other influential people among them.
“The communities have consistently complained of lack of portable water but that is outside our scope of intervention.
“There are maternity homes and other health centres that do not have water and this has negative impact on the health of the people.
“And, in the past, government used to provide some basic drugs at the primary healthcare centres, at subsidised rates but that is no longer obtainable.
“From the reports we have, the issue of insecurity has actually reduced which may be attributable to government’s amnesty programme for cattle rustlers but health workers do not still have the courage to access certain communities as they insist on going to such places accompanied by security personnel.”
Yusuf described what he called “government attitude” towards some health issues as, “not encouraging,” explaining the sudden stoppage of RUTF, the food supplement administered on malnourished children.
As he put it, “the unfortunate thing is that the Katsina State government has not shown adequate commitment in the fight against malnutrition as it has failed to release its counterpart funds for the nutrition project and this has stalled further supply of RUTF to the affected communities.
“In fact, the state is beginning to lose a lot because a number of intervention programmes are being taken to other states where they are willing to pay paltry sums of money to access projects from NGOs, and we are talking about money running into several millions of dollars for the benefit of their people.”
Earlier at the meeting, Chairman of the wards development committees, Mohammed Danjumah, listed the lack of portable water, drugs at the primary healthcare facilities and insecurity as part of factors working against efforts at checking certain health issues in the communities.
He requested the renovation of the primary healthcare centre at Dan-Musa, fencing and drilling of boreholes at Fafawa village and the Dantumaki primary healthcare centre.
According to him, “we are making efforts at finding alternative to RUTF, using millet and soya beans and in terms of security, we have met with Senator Abu Ibrahim and urged him to facilitate the establishment of a police station in Dan-Musa.”