EU Intervention in Kebbi, Life Saver – First Lady
By Uangbaoje Alex, Abuja
The First Lady of Kebbi State, Dr Zainab Bagudu has rated the European Union-Maternal, Newborn, Child Health and Nutrition (MNCHN), intervention project high, calling it a life saver for the state.
Dr. Bagudu who said the intervention has strengthen ongoing efforts by the state to address the disturbing women and children health indices in the state, stated this in Abuja, when she received officials of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Journalists on Monday.
The visit was to review success stories, lessons leant and challenges in the implementation of the four-year intervention project that began in 2016 to improve access to quality primary healthcare services by women and children kin the state being implemented by UNICEF.
She said the project has helped in reaching out to huge number of women and children, particularly those in rural areas with no access to health care services.
“The gains in the last three to four years are enormous and impactful in the lives of our women and children, through improved access to quality health care services.
“The renovation and equipping of our healthcare centres as well as the recruitment of skilled health workers and provision of commodities, particularly drugs was very commendable.
“This had significantly improved the demand for health services in our communities, as evident with the increase in antenatal care attendance; increase in facility delivery and uptake of immunisation and nutrition services.
“There was equally a positive behavioral change in the area of sanitation and hygiene practices, courtesy of the project under water, sanitation and hygiene intervention.”
Noting that the project would wind up in August, Mrs Bagudu stressed the need to do more for women and children to sustain progress so far recorded.
She also stressed the need to change the mindset of the people, the attitude of health workers and ensure availability of drugs and other commodities in health centres.
According to her, this can only be achieved through multi-sectoral collaboration and community driven approach, by putting the people who are the beneficiaries at the centre of every intervention.
“The government has no choice but to sustain the laudable initiative because it has a mandatory obligation to provide health services to its people as a basic human right,” she added.
She noted the need to leverage on existing community structures such as religious and traditional institutions, Ward Development Committees, Volunteer Community Mobilisers and Traditional Birth Attendants who were mobilising and linking women to health facilities.
She equally lauded the Emergency Transport Scheme in collaboration with the National Union of Road Transport Workers to transport pregnant women and children in need of emergency health services to the hospitals.
“There is equally the Integrated Community Case Management initiative where community-based volunteers provide treatment for malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea to children under five years, as well as hard-to-reach outreach programme.
“These community-based structures must be maintained to deepen community engagement and mobilisation to sustain the growing demand for health services in health facilities,” she said.
She described the presence of nurses, community health extension workers, midwives in Local Government Areas (LGAs), as well as female counselors, wives of counselors and council’s chairmen as “crucial” in community mobilisation.
The governor’s wife promised to train them and establish a taskforce for community mobilisation and sensitisation, targeting women and children to increase demand and uptake of healthcare service.