How volunteers reduced search for healthcare in Bauchi communities
The search for healthcare services have, for many years been elusive for some Bauchi residents in Hard-To-Reach (HTR) settlements who travel long distances in search of quality healthcare.
An investigation by The Guardian revealed that in Toro local government area of Bauchi State, one of the largest local government areas in Nigeria, there are about 1,600 communities with only 103 Primary Health Care (PHC) centres.
Rural dwellers are therefore faced with the daunting challenge of searching for healthcare services in neighbouring towns and cities which are mostly elusive due to long distances to health facilities and the bad state of their roads.
It’s against this backdrop that the EU-UNICEF healthcare project trained 1,200 Community Oriented Resource Persons (CORPS) on Integrated Community Case Management (ICCM) of common illnesses such as malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhoea disease in 1,200 settlements.
One of the healthcare volunteers in Toro local government, Mukaila Suleiman told The Guardian that after their training, there were supported with kits and other necessary items to close the healthcare gap of HTR communities.
“We were trained on how to take a blood sample then check it out on a Rapid Diagnose Test kit. If it’s positive, we give drugs that have been provided for us. We also refer cases that are beyond our capacity to healthcare facilities. I can say that it has been of great impact on all of us.
“Our major focus is under-5 years children who may be suffering from minor diseases, but we also give priority to pregnant women who seek our assistance in treating malaria,” he said
Another volunteer, Ali Musa, said he goes around his settlement to reach out to children who are down with diseases, whose parents are unwilling to take to the hospital for treatment.
“The fact is that some parents are still sceptical of going to the hospital for treatment, they prefer unorthodox methods. But with enlightenment and education in these areas, they are beginning to turn out for treatment. This is what we should all be doing without being told. Nevertheless, we are paid a token to help us with the work,” he noted.
Some of the beneficiaries of the healthcare project in Toro and Bogoro local government areas expressed delight towards the EU-UNICEF project while calling for its sustenance.
Alheri Yakubu of Lusa Ward in Bogoro local government narrated her ordeal in accessing health service which led to the death of one of her daughters who died from pneumonia.
According to her, “It took us 3 hours to access healthcare. Sometimes we had to cross many rivers and hills before getting minor diseases treated. The worst experience is during the raining period when many of our children and women are affected by diseases like malaria, pneumonia and cough. We are thankful for the EU-UNICEF medical outreach team that has been sent to us to treat some of our sicknesses. We pray that it continues.”
Another resident of Bonga Dadinki, James Musa noted that many children were lost in the past as a result of inadequate PHCs in his community.
“When some of our children and our wives don’t have access to the clinic, giving birth was so tasking. But since the EU-UNICEF renovated our PHCs 2 years ago, things are a lot better. We now have some of our youths who have gone for training in giving first aid. They give drugs for anti-malaria, diarrhoea and cough,” Musa said.
When contacted, the primary health care officer for Bogoro local government, Mr Bitrus Zoms said there are about 29 Community Oriented Resource Persons (CORPs), drawn from their communities were trained and kitted by the European Union and United Nations Children Fund in December 2017.