*No antenatal, as nearest hospital is a canoe and okada away
By Ibrahim Yakubu
“I have been going through serious pains and stress. It’s not easy.”
It certainly cannot be easy for the speaker, Zainab, aged 30, who recently gave birth to quadruplets in a Kaduna village without help from anyone. And the mother of 12 never went for antenatal.
Makwalla village in Igabi, Kaduna State, where Zainab lives, lacks the necessary facilities and the distance between her and the nearest health centre, added to poor transportation, made her abandon medical check-ups during all the pregnancies she had carried over the years.
These factors, she pointed out, also denied her the services of a counsellor to help with child spacing.
Zainab told Vanguard: “I have been giving birth to twins in this village without going for any medical checks. This time I delivered all four kids at my husband’s house without any assistance from anyone.”
She groans: “I have gone through serious pains, stress and, indeed, its not really easy giving birth to these four kids in a village without any support. But to God be the glory, I am fine.
“I always used traditional medicine and other drugs from local vendors, whenever I feel pain in my body.” The same goes for the rest of the over 800 inhabitants of Makwalla for any ailment.
Zainab said she chose to give birth at home because the nearest hospital is far away, and she can only reach it via commercial canoes and then Okada.
She added that most of the women in the village would welcome child spacing, but that there was no one to counsel them on how to do it.
The husband’s happy, but…
Zainab’s husband, Mallam Mohammadu Hassan, expressed happiness over the new addition to his family, thanking God for Zainab’s safe delivery of the quadruplets.
However, he expressed sadness over the pains most of the pregnant women in the village face whenever it comes to childbirth, due to lack of a hospital or any primary health care facility in the area.
Kabiru pointed out that most of the inhabitants of the village can only access civilisation by using the local canoes to cross the river and link up with the major city for any form of transaction.
Kabiru noted that his wife has given birth to over 12 children at home without assistance. He added that some died.
Abandoned hospital project
Kabiru called on the state government to complete the community’s hospital project that has been abandoned for years. He said a functional hospital would surely reduce the number of women dying annually while crossing the river to get antenatal care or other forms of medical checks.
Similarly, Malam Mohammadu Bashiru, District Head of Makwalla community, who also raised concern over the high risk the village women face, appealed to the state government to establish more Primary Healthcare Centres, PHCs, in the area.
Bashiru said building PHCs in communities across River Kaduna would reduce problems associated with maternal and infant mortality and other ailments suffered by people in the villages.