Emergency Transport Scheme: 13,771 Kebbi Pregnant Women, Children Assisted – Agency
Uangbaoje Alex, Birnin Kebbi
Following the inauguration of Emergency Transport Scheme (ETS) in Kebbi State between 2017, over 13, 771 pregnant women and children under five years have benefited from the scheme.
The scheme is supported by the European Union (EU), under it’s Maternal, New-born, Child Health and Nutrition (MNCHN) project being implemented by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), specifically designed to improve women and children’s access to primary healthcare services in the state, especially those in the hard-to-reach areas.
Speaking to journalists on Tuesday in Birnin Kebbi, on the successes of the scheme , Malam Yusuf Yahuza, ETS Programme Officer, state’s Primary Health Care Development Agency, described the scheme as huge success.
He explained that the ETS was inaugurated in 2017 to specifically convey pregnant women and children under five years in emergency to the nearest health facility for prompt medical attention.
According to him, the main goal was to reduce delay from community to the nearest health centre, particularly hard-to-reach areas with no health facility.
Yahuza, said that the scheme was under the UNICEF and EU-supported Maternal, New-born, Child Health and Nutrition (MNCHN) project,
He added that the ETS was being implemented in partnership with the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Ministry of Health and the State’s Primary Healthcare Development Agency.
Others are Ministry of Women Affairs, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO), and the Nigeria Police.
He said that a total of 21 focal persons and 675 drivers were trained and equipped by UNICEF and EU to implement the scheme in 21 Local Government Areas of the state.
According to him, a total of 3,430 women and children were so far transported under the scheme in 2017; 5,181 in 2018; and 5,160 in 2019.
“The figures comprised of 10,556 pregnant women who were mostly in labour and 3,250 children suffering from various child killer diseases that requires emergency attention.”
One of the ETS drivers, Alhaji Mohammed Sifawa, described the scheme as “a service to humanity”.
Sifawa said that that most times they conveyed pregnant women in labour to the hospitals in the middle of the night.
“We receive calls sometimes around 12 a.m. sometimes 2 a.m. and we have to respond because for a woman in labour, it is between life and death.
“Once we get to the hospital we wait until the woman deliver and then transport her back to her house often at no charges, because it was the right thing to do,” said.
The Secretary, NURTW, Argungu LGA, Alhassan Aliyu, said that the ETS drivers who carry out such services were made to load their vehicles before any other drivers as incentives.
Aliyu explained that the drivers were attached to specific communities and their phone numbers shared among community members to call during labour or emergency for immediate transportation to the hospitals.
According to him, the scheme has helped in building relationship between community members and the drivers, adding that the relationship is helping to save lives of women and children.
Also speaking, the Director, Road Traffic, VIO, Aminu Mohammed, said that the role of the VIO was to ensure that the drivers were qualified and licensed.
Mohammed said that the drivers, kitted with reflective jackets, face cap and Identification Card, were given speedy passage on the highways to prevent delay.
Similarly, Route Commander Abdullahi Mohammed of the FRSC, said that the drivers were adequately trained on how to transport women and children during emergency.
“We particularly trained them on how to ensure that their vehicles were in good shape before conveying any woman; trained them on Highway Code and the need to obey traffic rules,” Mohammed added.