UNICEF Confident that Intergrated Mobile Truck Services will Reduce Maternal, Under 5 Deaths in Kaduna

By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), on Sunday expressed confidence that the mobile trucks for integrated service delivery inaugurated by the Kaduna State government will help to reduce maternal and under 5 mortality in the state.

Kaduna State Governor, Senator Uba Sani, on Sunday officially flagged off the operationalization of the state medical mobile trucks for integrated service delivery for hard to reach communities in the state.

Speaking at the sideline of the flag off, Gerida Birukila, UNICEF Chief of Kaduna Field Office, said the beauty of having the trucks is people are able to have access to healthcare facility without traveling far.

“The beauty of the trucks is that they are able to go to people who are not able to get to the health facility because is too far from them. So for now we are prioritizing communities that are five kilometers from the PHCs.

“You can imagine a pregnant woman traveling 10 to 15 kilometers, which is not possible, this is one of the major reason for high maternal mortality and also under 5 mortality. This is because the services are too far from the people not that they don’t want the services.

“So the government has done well to bring the services close to the community and we hope to be able to reach more people in the days to come.” She added.

The UNICEF Chief, explained that the idea of doing integration using the trucks procured by the state government to reach communities in difficult terrains was born by UNICEF.

According to her, “because we have worked in integration, we gave the government technical support and also gave financial support to enable this to take off.

“The government is providing over 90% of the cost because the workers and drugs mobilization are all by the government but they provided a conducive environment where we were able to also share our expertise in integration outreaches.

“We have added screening for malnutrition, HIV screening, and other several things that can be done at the primary health centre level and we have seen that within two months, we have been able to reach 25% of the zero dose children. Kaduna has around 94,000 zero dose children and we have reached 25% of that number because of the trucks.”

Earlier, Governor Uba, who was represented by his Deputy, Hadiza Balarabe, said apart from the mobile trucks being able to boost healthcare services and enhance the wellbeing and survival of Kaduna citizens in hard to reach communities, they will also serve as a vital tools for the ongoing disease surveillance while strengthening basic clinical services, referrals and linkages.

He added that trucks will offer a range of services, from maternal, newborn and child health interventions, radiology services and all laboratory diagnosis of ailments such as malaria, HIV, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis and many more.

“Our administration is committed to taking all necessary steps to make significant progress towards achieving universal health coverage. Our vision is to build and strengthen enhanced health system that is adequately equipped, well staffed with comprehensive, accessible and affordable services and that is oriented to deliver distanced standard of care.

“To this end, we undertook an innovative approach to better our state’s healthcare system. Among the initiatives we took, we have procured state of the art mobile diagnostic units which will facilitate the provision of quality diagnostics services to our far to reach, hard to reach and other underserved communities” the Governor said.

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