……As Governor Initiates Emergency Transport Scheme
By Victor Osae IHIDERO, Birnin Kebbi
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) with support from The European Union (EU) on Thursday donated N2.1 billion healthcare commodities to the Kebbi State Government in fulfilment of the agreement with the state government to strengthen Primary Healthcare and Community Resilience for improved Maternal, Newborn, Child Health and Nutrition in the state.
The goal of the project is to significantly contribute to the reduction of maternal, new-born and child mortality and morbidity in 3 States of Adamawa, Bauchi and Kebbi in Nigeria, towards the achievement of SDGs as well as to establish an integrated primary health care model which can be easily scaled up.
The state government who received the Commodities in Birnin Kebbi also launched an Emergency Transport Scheme (ETS), in partnership with The National Union of Road Transport Union (NURTW), expected to address the delay in accessing quality health services by pregnant women throughout the state.
Receiving the commodities from UNICEF Country Representative, Mohammed Malick Fall, represented by Mohammad Mohiuddin, the Sokoto Chief of Field Office, the State governor, Senator Atiku Abubakar Bagudu, assured the donors of the full utilization of the commodities saying:
“I can assure you that the health sector and all stakeholders will ensure that those commodities are used judiciously. The state assembly in collaboration with the Health Ministry and all security agencies will ensure that the probity which they are given is judiciously delivered.
“I must commend the European Union and UNICEF, for their investment in the life of our children, particularly the leadership of the Chief of Sokoto Feild office, who mobilised more money to Kebbi, is really commendable.” he said.
The governor also applauded the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the state for their immeasurable support for the health sector, saying “this emergency transport services is in partnership with the NURTW, in addition to what they have been doing in the health sector.
“We are not surprised that NURTW is partnering, because we are always confident that they are partners in progress and they will do whatever it takes to help in Kebbi state and even make the state better.”
In his address, the UNICEF Country Rep, explained that the project which is met to last for four years covered all the 21 Local Government Areas in the State.
He expressed confidence that the project will provide the state with uninterrupted service delivery as part of its benefit in the next ten years.
He added that under the ETS scheme, community-based, volunteer drivers who are members of the NURTW are trained on how to convey pregnant mothers (relatively free) to the nearest health facility to access Emergency Obstetric Care (EOC).
Long distances to health facilities, high cost of using commercial transport in the event of an obstetric emergency, and the lack of available transport at night are factors that contribute to a 1 in 40 risk of death during pregnancy in Nigeria.
This is why the NURTW, was identified as a strong partner in implementation of the ETS in addressing delay in accessing quality health services by pregnant women throughout the state.