By Phillip Yatai, Kebbi
Dalijan Primary Healthcare Centre, Gwandu Local Government Area of Kebbi is recording massive turn out of pregnant women for antenatal care services, says the Facility Head, Mr. Auwal Sani.
Sani attributed the upsurge to the ANC, Health Workers and Community forum introduced by UNICEF and European Union-Maternal, Newborn, Child Health and Nutrition in the state in 2016.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Dilijan on Friday that ANC attendance has improved from 88 in January to 1,127 in December 2018, with new ANC attendance continuing at the facility.
“For example, the facility recorded 27 new ANC attendance in July, which increased to 40 in August, and so far, we have recorded 51 new attendance in September and still counting.
“This ANC-Health Workers Forum is really helping to address challenges affecting ANC attendance and demand for other health services in Kebbi communities,” he said.
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Mr. Ahmed Ahmed, Communication for Development Consultant, UNICEF, EU-MNCHN project, told NAN that the forum was introduced in two Local Government Areas of Danko Wasagu and Gwandu.
Ahmed explained that the forum was designed for pregnant women, health workers and community members to share experiences and challenges affecting demand for health services.
“The forum helps in identifying home-based issues that have to do with the husbands and their wives and facility-based issues affecting service delivery with a view to finding ways of addressing them.
“If the problem is from the home, the husbands are there to listen to their wives; if it is quality of service delivery, the facility head is there to listen and take necessary action.
“If it is community issues, the Ward Development Committees are there to listen and sensitize community members on way forward.
“The goal is for the health workers, pregnant women and mothers of children under five years to find common grounds in increasing demand for health services and ensure quality service delivery in health facilities,” he said.
NAN correspondent who witnessed one of the sessions, reports that the forum was very interactive as pregnant women and community members freely shared their experiences and challenges.
One of the pregnant women, Aishatu Bala, a mother of six, said that she has the full support of her husband on issues concerning health and nutrition services, courtesy of the forum.
She added that her husband regularly accompanied her to the facility for ANC and other maternal and nutrition services.
Also, Malam Shehu Usman noted that the forum has provided a platform for community members to be actively involved in improving service delivery and demand creation.
“Through the forum, we have learned how best to support our wives and encourage them to go for ANC, immunization and provide adequate nutritious food for the family,” Usman said