By Alex Uangbaoje, Kaduna
The second round of the 2018 biannual Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Week (MNCHW) has witnessed massive turnout of women and children in Kaduna State.
The exercise which is conducted twice a year by the state government and supported by UNICEF and other development partners began on Monday Jan. 7 and will end on Friday Jan.11.
The goal is to mobilised women and children to access all health services being provided at health centres free, to ensure safe delivery for pregnant women and healthy development of children.
Other key services that are provided during the exercise include immunisation, care for pregnant women, deworming, child spacing lectures and services, promotion of key household practices, hand washing, good nutrition practices and use of treated mosquito nets.
The exercise was monitored in some locations in the state.
At the Igabi Local Government Area of the state, it was observed that women and children were at the Primary Healthcare Centres as early as 7 am to benefit from the programme.
Also, the Primary Health Care (PHC) Rigachikun was filled with women and children from different communities, who were seen accessing various health services.
The Officer In-Charge of the facility, Mrs. Linda Buki who said the turnout was great, added “we have never experienced this massive turnout of women for this exercise where we attended to over 725 women and children on the first day of the exercise.
“The number increased to 922 on the second day before dropping to 646 on the third day, higher than the about 500, the highest recorded during the first phase of the exercise in June 2018,” she said.
At the PHC Mararaban Jos where about 70 women and children were seen being attended to, Mrs. Hassana Kudan who is in charge of the facility, told journalists that over 100 women and children were attended to daily.
“There is huge turnout compared to the last exercise, where we attended to an average of between 50 and 60 women and children daily.
“We really commend the state government, National Orientation Agency (NOA), UNICEF and other relevant stakeholders for mobilising women to come out en masse to access the services,” Kudan said.
Malam Lawal Haruna, UNICEF Focal Person in NOA, Kaduna Office, attributed the massive turnout of women and children to the aggressive mobilisation carried out by NOA and other stakeholders.
Haruna noted that mothers and caregivers were mobilised in about 12 LGAs for the exercise including Birnin Gwari, Giwa, Igabi, Ikara, Lere, Kagarko, Kauru, Kubau, Kudan, Sanga, Soba and Zankgon Kataf.
Haruna explained that the mobilisation, supported by UNICEF Kaduna Field Office, was successful because of the engagement of traditional and religious leaders through advocacy visits and workshops.
“We equally mobilised community members to participate in the exercise through community dialogue, theatre for development, radio jingles, distribution of pamphlets and other information materials to enlighten the public,” he said.
Some of the women who spoke, commended the state government, UNICEF and other stakeholders for providing free healthcare services, drugs and other help tips crucial to their survival and the development of their children.