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Taraba, UNICEF deploy free services to hard-to-reach areas

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The dream of the Taraba state government eradicating polio and other child killer diseases among the under five children and women of child bearing age domiciling in the Hard-To-Reach (HTR) areas of the state has no doubt began to yield positive results.

The dream, which is being actualized through the State Primary Health Care Development Agency in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), as noticed by The Guardian, recently compelled health workers, medical experts and partners from the National Stop Transmission of Polio (NSTOP) to defile the terrains of such communities by taking medications to their doorsteps.

One of such communities visited by the team along side with media practitioners is the Lussunyawa village located in Monkey Ward of Zing Local Government Council.

The journey to Lussunyawa which ordinarily ought not to exceed thirty minutes drive, took the team no fewer than two hours on motor bikes due to the deplorable nature of the road which is presently cap in hand seeking for attention from the relevant authorities.

Apart from its desire to prevent any form of polio outbreak in the state especially in the rural communities, the team also stressed it readiness to work tirelessly round the clock to halt the people especially the under five children and child bearing mother’s from dying from preventable diseases.

According the cluster coordinator of the Northern zone HTR, Dr. Nshe M. David, “These communities also face additional health risks such as malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea amongst children, poor nutrition and high maternal illness.”

Stressing that HTR targets children under the age of five years and Women of child bearing age, minor ailments such as scabies, ring worms, wounds, bruises, ulcer to mention just a few are as well being attended to by the team visiting the HTR.

Beckoning on Tarabans especially those domiciling in the HTR areas of the state to make use of the opportunity at their disposal by assessing the health facilities at their doorsteps the HTR – Maternal Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH) staff, as made known by him “offer free immunization, treatment of childhood killer diseases, antenatal care, treatment of women of child bearing age free of charge in all HTR settlements.”

Other Medical personnel who made their minds known on the importance of the ongoing HTR exercise which is being sponsored by the Global Affairs Canada (GAC), agreed that the major targets are the under five children and women of child bearing age, but noted that the team visit a settlement ” once every quarter with integrated primary health care packages.”

Some of such medical experts who includes the cluster coordinator HTR-MNCH, Dr. Onuche Oliver Igoche, Cluster coordinator HTR-MNCH central zone of the state, Dr. Algeria M. Bulus and the implementation officer, NSTOP, Itse Olaoye, also agreed that Health education on Key House Hold Practices (KHHP) such as exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding, Education and counselling clients on importance of hand washing, preparation of Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT), nutrition among other as service provided during the visit of the HRT teams the communities.

Members of the community whom The Guardian observed came out en-mass after thorough mobilization by the village head, Wakili Hassan Jauro, Volunteer Community Mobilizer (VCM) Community Mobilizer (CM) and the Town Announcer (TA), agreed that the exercise had impacted on them positively.

Speaking to our correspondent, the village head, said for the timely intervention of the team, many of his subjects would have been hurriedly ushered to the graveyards ” even when their ailments can be prevented from taking their lives.”
He pleaded with the state government, UNICEF and the government of Canada not to relent in its efforts as that according to him ” would go a long way to address the various health challenges facing my people here in Lussunyawa village.”

Overwhelmed by the gesture, the Zing council chairman, Christopher Kashonba, who took his time to be with the team, said the council, would tread all legitimate paths to sustain the HTR project in the council.

Some women of childbearing age, who spoke with our correspondent in the community, claimed they have no single knowledge of Anti-Natal Care (ANC) until the arrival of the health worker and the medical experts to the Lussunyawa community.

Narrating how she almost lost her life and that of her baby during her first delivery at home, Hannatu Gabriel, said: ” Since these people came here and introduce us to the ANC, my second and third children were delivered safely without me going through the rigorous pains I went through during my first delivery.”

Hannatu and other women of child bearing age pleaded with the authority concerned to endeavor to establish health center in the community in order to halt their children from dying from diseases that are curable.

On his own part the Executive of the State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Aminu Hassan, said the major priority of the incumbent state government is ” to take health care to their door post.”

Speaking through agency Director, Community Health, Mallam Chindo Zakari, the ES, said the state government is determined to Promote the health of its citizens hence its desire to give all the needed helping hands to UNICEF and the various partners who are vehemently will to contribute their quotas to the health sector.

The agency, UNICEF and NSTOP who also use the opportunity to engage media practitioners on a two day sensitization meeting on the HTR, stressed on the need to use the media to create awareness.

The HTR focal persons, Joyce Madanga, who stated this, challenged the media to come out with action points that would be implemented for the benefits of the HTR project in the state.

Believing that the successes so far recorded in some of the HTR areas would be replicated in all the 650 settlements so far earmarked for coverage, the team passionately called on all a sundries especially council chairmen to fashion out modalities of sustaining the project as the donor partners have slated 2018 for the withdrawal of its services.



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