By Charly Agwam – Bauchi
A rural woman, Fraida Ishyaku of Jauro Hassan settlement in Ganjuwa local government area of Bauchi state has narrated how she was told she would ‘cough for life’ after she suffered from pneumonia for years without knowing the name of the sickness and the cure for it.
Fraida, a mother of two told Vanguard how she had resigned to fate after several efforts to find a solution for her heavy cough didn’t yield positive result.
She said many of her co-settlers had described her as the ‘coughing woman’ before the intervention of the EU-UNICEF through their medical outreach programme in Hard-To-Reach communities where patients were tested and treated for free from illnesses such as pneumonia, malaria and diarrhoea.
“For many years, I have been having recurrent cough, and have tried several solutions to regain my health but nothing seemed to improve. I even thought it was spiritual. In fact, some people, from time to time, would jest at me that I was born to cough for life. The cough made me struggle with the simplest things a good wife should do for in her household because I lost so much energy.
“But I was lucky, after many years of hopelessness, help traced me to my very doorstep. Some people came and said they would conduct test and offer free treatment for some sicknesses. Since I didn’t know what was wrong with me, I offered myself to be checked, and few moments later I was given drugs for pneumonia. I took the drugs and that was the last time I ever coughed.
“When I asked who sent the medical team, I was told that it’s and EU-UNICEF project. I really don’t know how to thank them. May God replenish their pockets in million folds. They even gave malaria drugs to my neighbour’s children who have been sick for some time. You can see they are okay now. We are grateful,” she said, apparently fighting back tears.
Aminu Jubrin, one of the 1,200 Volunteer Community Oriented Resource Persons (CORPs) serving across 1,200 Bauchi communities who served as guide through the 30-minutes motorcycle ride along the footpath to Jauro Hassan settlement, said his team has treated many patients and referred many more who were severally ill to medical facilities.
“It is commonplace for rural dwellers, especially those in Hard-To-Reach settlements, to die from preventable and treatable illnesses such as malaria, typhoid and pneumonia. Many of those we have interfaced with, including children had severe cases of malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia. We treated the ones we could treat and referred the severe ones to health facilities where they can receive better healthcare.
“We used to have shortage of drugs and other hospital equipment, but thankfully the EU-UNICEF project have supplied drugs and standard equipment to all 323 main Primary Health Clinics (PHCs) in the state (1 PHC/ward). Like in other settlements we visited with you, we always advice them to make use of the PHCs provided at the ward, like the one at Kafin Madaki,” he noted.
Vanguard learned that the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) received funding; 54-million-euro for multisectoral health and nutrition project from the European Union (EU) in 2017 to support Bauchi, and two other Northern states in implementing health care services under the project titled, ‘Strengthening Primary Health Care and Community Resilience for Improved Maternal, New-born, Child Health & Nutrition (MNCHN) Outcomes’.