Some communities in Misau Local Government Area of Bauchi State say they use donkeys and ox-drawn trucks to transport pregnant women and sick people to hospitals due to lack of motorable roads.
The communities disclosed this on Wednesday when a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent visited Babuwuri and Ngummachame settlements, which are tagged“Hard-To-Reach (HTR)” in terms of healthcare by the EU/UNICEF.
The Heads of the settlements, Malam Magaji Abdu and Alhaji Ahmadu Garba, disclosed that the only means of transporting pregnant women and sick ones to health facilities were donkeys and ox-drawn trucks.
“This is due to the hard to reach nature of our settlements coupled with the lack of road networks and distance from health facilities.
“If a woman developed obstructed labour or any delivery complications as well as sick ones who cannot be conveyed on motorcycles, the last option is to use either donkeys or ox-drawn trucks.
“This is done over a distance of 20km or 15km depending on the location of the settlements and health facilities,” Abdu said.
The community leader, however, thanked God that in 2018, the EU/UNICEF introduced a health programme whereby a medical team came to their settlements once a month to conduct antenatal on pregnant mothers and children below five years.
On his part, Garba said: “They visit our settlements once in a month and render various medical services including antenatal, nutritional, minor ailments, immunisation and others.
“Fortunately for us, both the services and drugs are given to us free of charge and it has reduced both maternal and child mortality rates.”
The community heads, who are also the village mobilisers for the programme, stressed that in spite of EU/UNICEF assistance, they still used donkeys and ox-drawn trucks to convey patients during emergencies.
They called on the state government to provide them with roads, health facilities and schools, as well as to sustain the EU/UNICEF outreach programme in their areas.
The Team Leader of the programme in the council, Hajiya Amina Abdu, said that between April 26, 2019, and Oct. 22, 2019, the team treated 11,937 patients in 16 settlements of Sarma, Dunkurmi and Kafin Sule wards of the council.
Abdu, who is a retired Nurse and Midwife, disclosed that the team had also treated 10,289 patients between May 2019 and November 2019 in another 16 settlements under Ajali, Sirka and Beti wards of the council.
She called on the state government and other non-governmental organisations to sustain the programme after the EU/UNICEF might have pulled out of the areas due to its importance.
The team leader said that the beneficiaries were under-5 years children, who may be suffering from minor diseases and antenatal care to pregnant women.
She said that cases considered beyond their capacity were either referred to Dankwi Kasuwa Primary Healthcare Centre or Misau General Hospital, a five-hour journey, to access the facilities.
Mr Abdullahi Musa, a volunteer, said that when the team started, most of the parents were sceptical and preferred alternative medicine to the conventional ones, but the situation had changed for the better.
Some of the beneficiaries interviewed expressed delight towards the EU-UNICEF project and called for its sustenance.
They said that their children and pregnant women were given antenatal care and treatment from minor ailments.