By Dennis Agbo
ABAKALIKI – SOCIAL Care Initiative for Families and Children, a non profit organisation has raised alarm at the high rate ofÂ infant and maternal mortality in Nigeria, especially in the hinterlands.
The NGO has therefore tasked the Federal Government to increase budgeting for healthcare in rural areas, considering the apparent lack of functional primary health-care centres as well as poor health facilities in such areas.
President of the organisation, Mrs. Mary Enyi-Ebere made the call when she spoke at a one-day capacity building seminar organised by her organisation for the people of Abaomege in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi state.
Ebere noted that the decay in the health sector in the country, especially in the rural areas as discovered by the study conducted by her organisation was alarming and would ultimately threaten the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals on healthcare, if nothing was urgently done by relevant government agencies to address the situation.
She expressed dismay that primary, and in most cases, secondary health centres areÂ non-existent in most states, lamenting that the burden of taking care of pregnant women and children under five years is now left for the tertiary institutions, especially the teaching hospitals and the federal medical centres.
Ebere said that after their discovery, the organisation decided to go to the rural areas to train them to take their destinies in their own hands by doing the natural thing of keeping their environment clean, while waiting for government assistance in other areas, to avoid infections.
Also speaking at the event, the Head of Department, (Health) Ukaba Development Centre, Mrs. Okoro Odii, commended the initiators of the seminar, noting that the issue of healthcare should not be the exclusive reserve of government as according to her, it required the collaboration of even private organisations.
Other speakers at the seminar, includes Mrs. Okoro, Christopher Eze and Ngozi Orji-Nkama.
They spoke infant mental health, environmental health and drug abuse and called for constant awareness seminars at the rural level to inculcate in the people, the virtues of cleanliness and personal hygiene, as that would also go a long way in checking the spreading of most infectious diseases.