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MNCH Week 2016: Communities Applauds KDSG, UNICEF Over Free Medical Services

By ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna

Communities across Kaduna State have commended the effort of the state government and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), for the provision of one week free medical services to mark the 2016 Maternal Newborn and Child Health Week (MNCH), in the state.

In their different remarks about their feelings on the services, people praises organisers of the activities for taking time out annually to provide them with such services that do not only improve their health status but impact new knowledge of health behaviour in them.

A visit to different communities within four local Government Areas (LGA), of Soba, Kubau, lere and Kaura in the state shows that mothers especially only joyful but showed inexpressible appreciation by turning out enmass in participation for the event.

On the first and second day of activities in the week, from Soba community in Soba LGA to Dutsen Wai ward to Anchau, Damau, Haskiya, Kargi, Kubau, Mah, Pambegua, Zabi, Zuntu all in Kubau LGA, down to Kayarda, Yar Kasuwa, Sabo-birni, up to Saminaka in Lere LGA and also in Dandaura and the entire Makami ward in Kaura LGA,  the story is that of success.

One of the uniqueness of this year’s MNCH week is the huge turnout of women and children that participated in the activities.

This was so because of the investment made in the area of mobilisation and coordination. Rabiu Yero, Director Primary Healthcare Centre, Kubau LGA expressed satisfaction over what he termed “impressive turnout”, adding that, “we improved on social mobilisation using the religious and traditional leaders in the communities.

“These messages were transmitted in various languages through town criers, Voluntary Community Mobilisers (VCM), town announcers, flyers etc.

“The mobiliser are motivated by the fact that those to benefit from the services are their families, children and friends. The husbands has become very enlightened on like before when you have to be begging them to allow their wives to come out and benefit from such services.”

Also speaking in the same vein, village head of Maiyashi, Dutsenwai District, Mallam Adamu Mohammed, Noted that they worked on instructions given to them by the leader of their traditional institution, the Emir of Zazzau through their district heads to mobilise everybody in their various communities especially the men who in the past always hinders their wives from coming out to be part of the good things the government is doing to improve the health of their families.

“It became very easy this year because even the men are now part of the campaign, they are beginning to realise that all what the government and UNICEF is bringing to our communities is in the their interest and not against them.” Adamu said. 

In Saminaka, one of the VCM, Habiba Musa, told the Media Monitoring Team that, since they commenced mobilisation they didn’t stop, but continued on a daily basis so as to ensure that no one is left unattended to because the sservices is made available for the community.

Hadiza Madaki, head of Wuroko Health Clinic in Kayarda ward in Lere LGA, explained that they have to adopt a mobile clinic method because communities in the area is scattered and no good access roads as a result, some pregnant women and children are finding it difficult to access the clinic.

“So what we do is to take the facilities and the drugs to certain areas in some communities where the women are and when we are done we move to the next area, that is how we are doing it in this clinic so that they will not have any excuse to miss out of this kind gesture that you don’t see everyday.” she said.

It was a different story at Ugwan Bawa PHC, sabo-birni ward in Lere LGA, although all the materials and official were on ground with huge number of women and children, but there was no water for them to take their drugs and the drugs were exposed as they take them home with no body monitoring what they do with them.

When we spoke with one of the official, he said that the only water source in the facility is a well which is not hygienic at all for them to use, and that the organisers didn’t give them money to buy water.

Another thing we observed at that centre was a group of three women who were protesting their rejection by officials,  according to Rukaya Sale, who spoke on behalf of the the group, “they invited us here telling us that we are going to receive free treatment to all kinds of illness, and I came here with high BP, ulcer, chest pain and fever, they just tested me and ask me to go that nothing is wrong with me.”

But when we the Media team,  approached the officials to find out what really transpired, they explained that the case they brought was not part of activities for the MNCH week. They however, advised the government to expand the programme to capture some other areas in order to avoid cases like that of Rukaya and her friends in the future.

At Dandaura some women testified of the pressure placed on them by the mobilisers and the persistency of the town criers to inform them of the event, adding that “we have not seen something like this before.”

Beneficiaries of the services across the communities we visited were full of praise for the government, UNICEF and other stakeholders who supported the government in making the 2016 MNCH week a success.

In his remarks to the MNCH week, Utpal Moitra, Chief of Field Office UNICEF, Kaduna, highlights the interventions provided, “this round interventions include Vitamin A, deworming tablets, immunization with routine antigens, nutritional screening, ANC, iron folate, TT and PCT to all pregnant women .

“Others include Zinc ORS, demonstration on handwashing, health education on essential family practices and birth registration. HCT to pregnant women is provided in all the fixed pots including 408 that are non PMTCT sites.

“UNICEF has supported the state with 100% Vitamin A and 10% of deworming tablets, social mobilization including town announcements, microplanning and monitoring with at least 4 monitors per LGA.

“Implementation is ongoing and with good turnout of clients accessing these interventions. This is the 2nd round of MNCHW implemented in Kaduna state, the first round was in May 2016.”

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