Transforming Health Sector in Nigeria:Women For Health Showing Exemplary Commitment in Katsina State
Transforming Health Sector in Nigeria:Women For Health Showing Exemplary Commitment in Katsina State
By ALEX UANGBAOJE
Premised on the deep commitment of the Women for Health (W4H) project to improve on the efforts in the health sector in Katsina State, the organization, with support from the Department for International Development (DFID) has built and renovatedmany different health facilities of major Health Institutions in the state. On a recent courtesy visit to the Governor of Katsina State, Rt. Hon. Bello Masari at the Government House in the Katsina State Capital, the National Programme Manager, Dr Fatima Adamu in company of the state W4H team in Katsina stated that such investments were needed to drive the health sector for greater service delivery. According to her, “Capacity building through training and retaining of staff of the schools of health technologies in Kankia and Daura; School of Nursing Katsina and School of Midwifery in Malumfashi has had huge impact onthe rendering of care in the state”. Going further, she informed the governor that,“Katsina State is one of the only 5 states in Nigeria benefiting from the activities of the project which will last till 2017”.
Whilst commending the cooperation and collaboration which the organization is enjoying withthe State’s ministries of Health, Education amongst others,Dr Fatima also appealed to the governor to support the activities of the organization through the release of government counterpart funds which is a DFID requirement for efficiency, effectiveness and ownership of the programme.Commenting on the activities of W4H in the State, the Governor of Katsina Statecommended the efforts of theWomen for Health in driving health development in the State and pledged to look into the issues raised by the National Programme Manager, Dr Fatima Adamuon the basis of what is already in place and how much to be done to build on the gains achieved by the project so far concluding that“Health care is one of the priorities of the state administration under my watch”.
For this reason, it becomes imperative to look into the background of the state of health in Northern Nigeria prior to the intervention of the Women for Health programme. Katsina State, like many states in the federation, especially the northern states, has some health indices with an unbearable high maternal and child mortality. According to the report of Nigeria Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) of 2008, the state is topmost in teenage pregnancy in Nigeria with 65 per cent of all cases recorded nationwide. The Leadership Newspapers of 29th June noted that the current teenage mortality rate is about 0.822 percent per 1000 women and the bulk of recorded incidences are from the north, with factors ranging from unsafe abortions, pregnancy complications, poor antenatal care that leads to the increase of birth-related deaths which abound in Katsina. With a population of a little over six million people, the state according to NDHS 2008 has an annual birth of 249, 000 with the annual number of neo-natal deaths standing at 11, 700. The report places an annual number of under five deaths at 54, 000. These figures and many troubling healthcare data has led many concerned stakeholders to inquire into the cause of the ailing health sector in the state. Women for Health is one of the very active vocal voices putting efforts join forces with the government to improve the state of healthcare in Katsina State.
From the record gathered by the team of researchers at W4H, it would shock many readers and affected publics that in the area of human resource for health, Katsina state can only boast of twenty-three nurses and midwives catering for over ten thousand people with five community health officers. Even though the output of the immediate past administration doubled the numbers of human resource yet they are not enough to provide care and meaningful health care delivery system to the teeming population. The activities of the Women for Health project are born out of the minute availability of human resource for health.
The Women for Health programme offers a unique opportunity to address one of the biggest obstacles to effective health care in northern Nigeria; that is, the shortage of female health workers, especially midwives. W4H believes that if enduring, well-trained female staffing is established, access to health service will increase dramatically and open the way for large numbers of women, babies and childrento receive essential care and thus help improve health outcomes and survival rates significantly in five northern states in Nigeria constituting Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Yobe and Zamfara respectively.
W4H’s output in achieving its core belief and principle of building the capacity of existing human resource for health care and assisting in the training of emerging ones, the training capacity of Health Technology Institutes (HTI) were increased with improved management and financing of the HTIs. Other outputs include: improved quality of education provided by this; increased HTI, government and community support for female health workers for rural areas; and strengthened community based service delivery for women and children’s health. The manners and ways these outputs have been carried out is laudable in that they have culminated in providing facilities that have helped both the faculties and students on the know-how of health technology in Daura, Malumfashi and the State’s capital. So far, in the School of Midwifery in Malumfashi, W4H has constructed two blocks of classrooms for learning with well-furnished carpentry works to make learning worthwhile. For the administrative purpose, the project also constructed one office block conducive enough to accommodate the staff team of the midwifery school at Malumfashi.
One of the very most meaningful projects amongst the wide arrays of other meaningful accomplishments in Malumfashi is the construction of a female hostel with the capacity to accommodate 40 students. The rooms are furnished to inspire both learning and repose after learning. This state-of-the-art structure and furniture is followed by the provision of a hostel to accommodate nursing mothers. The nursing mother’s hostel is built to remove all the complications arising from poor state of accommodation for nursing mothers. The constructed hostels for students and nursing mothers are well wired to make communications easier as internet facilities and computers are also provided for research, interactivity, sharing and other activities people used the internet for.
Unlike other interventions that have been done by other organizations that neglected existing structures, the W4H project, despite building new hostels and providing modern facilities for them, also renovated all the hostels in the School of Midwifery, Malumfashi and equipped the school’s Staff Common Room with Air Conditioners, a refrigerator, a Binatone Stabilizer 5KVA, Fire Extinguisher, Set of mugs, tea cups, sets of cutleries, Binatone stainless steel kettle and a 42 inch Plasma television with satellite facilities.
In the School of Nursing Katsina, W4H renovated the female hostel and provided internet facilities along with computers to aid research and interactivity to the outside world. One of the remarkable developments done in the School of Nursing in Katsina is the construction of practical demonstration laboratory for students. This renovation along with the provision of up-to-the-minute facilities is to make the school global and to position its Nursing students to compete with any other students from any institutions in the world. The provision of this world class facility is given more depth with the renovation of ten offices for teachers with the school Staff Common Room also equipped with Air Conditioners, a refrigerator, a Binatone Stabilizer 5KVA, Fire Extinguisher, Set of mugs, tea cups, sets of cutleries and a Binatone stainless steel kettle.
Indeed, if the word “development” were an automobile, it would have broken down from the mass of serial movements as the W4H moved its empowering and meaningful engagement to the School of Health Technology at Kankia. Kankia was not to be left out from the rivers of development flowing through Katsina as it is one of the schools of health being targeted to partake in W4H programme. At the School of Health Technology in Kankia, a massive renovation of the female hostel was carried out with a practicum-demonstration classroom laboratory constructed to acquaint students with the extant realities in the practice of health technology. The practicum classroom laboratory was also wired with up-to-date internet facilities and computers to connect to the outside world. The essence is to keep the trainees health technologists in touch with the practice abroad and all across Nigeria. Again, the staff common room was equipped with Air Conditioners, a refrigerator, a Binatone Stabilizer 5KVA, Fire Extinguisher, Set of mugs, tea cups, sets of cutleries, Binatone stainless steel kettle, a 42 inch Plasma television with satellite facilities. A set of furniture for the hostels and offices were also provided for the trainee technologists and the trainers in order to make learning a novel experience.
The implementation experience at the School of Health Technology at Daura took a different dimension both in delivery and methodology. The attention slightly shifted from total focus of female health trainees to providing welfare to the opposite gender. This follows the belief that females are both sisters and mothers to the male gender. At SHT Daura, two boreholes were constructed in the male and female hostels within the institution. The essence of this development is to provide portable water to both the students and staff population who are mostly faced with the challenge of accessing potable water. Like other development projects in other institutions, a classroom block wired with internet facilities and computers were constructed. The project at SHT Daura also completed the building of an office block for the faculties at SHT Daura. To complement this, major electrical and electronics were provided for the school staff common room.
Apart from all these beautiful structures and accessible facilities which the eye can behold, the W4H has also provided key training support to the HTIs in Katsina State and has also supported the training of the faculties within the State’s health sector to go and learn new practices and emerging trends in teaching outside the state. This is evident in the two Nurses and Midwives supported for tutorial course at the Kaduna Polytechnic. The programme supported thirteen graduate nurses for Post Graduate Diploma in Education at the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua University as a pre requisite for registration as tutors to the council’s accreditation requirement. Distance learning for ten tutors with London College of Tropical Nursing and Midwifery were also supported by the project. The reason behind the underpinning these support is to ensure that Katsina State has the required number of well-trained faculty to man its health sector thereby removing the state from the challenging position it occupies as reported in the Nigeria Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) and most importantly, to reduce the maternal mortality of women and children in the state.
The Rural Midwives Accommodation plan has succeeded in building seven houses to accommodate midwives at the following sites: Community Healthcare Centre (CHC) Babban Mutum in Baure LGA and has the capacity of four midwives in the facility; Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) Yantumaki in Dan Musa LGA, PHC Yankara in Faskari LGA, PHC Dayi in Malumfashi LGA, PHC Tandama in Danja LGA, PHC Shema in Dutsinma LGA and PHC Runka in Safana LGA. Each of these facilities located in these LGAs has four Midwives or faculties each bringing the number of facilities to seven in seven LGAs with twenty-eight midwives.
On top of this, the W4H has also recruited eighteen midwives and posted them to rural health facilities to provide more work-force to the grassroots. The W4H programme has provided incentives for forty midwives working in rural health facilities. To keep the health institutions relevant and equipped to meeting emerging concerns, the project recruited ten best science teachers for Foundation Year Programme(FYP) students and eight tutors with incentives to support FYPP students. This followed the recruitments of two matrons, two cleaners, two well-trained security guards and a nanny for FYP and preparatory students.
Women for Health‘s foundation year program has been excellent in the recruitment of students to bridge the gaps that exist in communities. The foundation year program has recruited one hundred rural students for FYP and has provided them with bed and beddings, complete feeding, monthly allowance of N5000, textbooks, monthly allowance for ten teachers and furniture. For the preparatory classes, sixty rural students have been recruited with the same package given to the FYP students also available to them.
The placement of students for the 2014/2015 sessions across health institutions in Katsina State is currently placed at sixty-one distributed across School of Nursing Katsina with nineteen students, School of Midwifery Malumfashi with twenty students, School of Health Technology, Daura with twelve students and School of Technology Kankia with twelve students. With these efforts, the Women for Health travels into the future – at a point where other organizations and stakeholders are forty winks away – to take proactive measures to salvage the impending challenges of maternal mortality that ambushed Katsina State in the future. Inasmuch as the W4H owes much gratitude to the DFID for funding this life buoying project, the programme also need the support of the Katsina State Government as well as other stakeholders to help reduce the maternal mortality rate in Katsina State. As the State Governor, Rt. Hon. Bello Masari has highlighted, “Health care is one of the priorities of the state administration under my watch”, the W4Huse this proxy tocall on all well-meaning Nigerians especially those of Katsina state or those within the five states of the W4H project,to support the effort to take the states out of the unbearable position in the world’s ranking of high maternal mortality rate.