According to a report by Punch Metro, residents of some communities in the Misau Local Government Area of Bauchi State say they convey pregnant women and sick people to hospitals on donkeys and ox-drawn trucks due to lack of good roads.
Members of the communities stated this on Wednesday when a News Agency of Nigeria correspondent visited the Babuwuri and Ngummachame settlements, which were tagged ‘Hard-to-Reach’ in terms of health care by the European Union and UNICEF.
The heads of the settlements, Malam Magaji Abdu and Alhaji Ahmadu Garba, said the only means of conveying pregnant women and sick residents to health facilities were donkeys and ox-drawn trucks.
Abdu said, “This is due to the hard-to-reach nature of our settlements, coupled with the lack of a good road network and the distance from health facilities.
“If a woman develops obstructed labour or any delivery complications and when we have sick persons, 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 15km to 20km, depending on the location of the settlements and health facilities.”
The community leader, however, stated that in 2018, the EU/UNICEF introduced a health programme whereby a medical team was coming to the settlements once a month to conduct antenatal care for pregnant women and children below five years.
On his part, Garba stated, “They visit our settlements once in a month and render various medical services, including antenatal, nutritional, treatment of minor ailments, immunisation and others.
“Fortunately for us, the services and drugs are given to us free of charge and they have reduced both maternal and child mortality rates.”
The community heads, who are also the village mobilisers for the programme, stressed that in spite of the EU/UNICEF assistance, they were still using donkeys and ox-drawn trucks to convey patients during emergencies.
They called on the state government to provide roads, health facilities and schools in the communities 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 between April 26, 2019, and October 22, 2019, the team treated 11,937 patients in 16 settlements, including Sarma, Dunkurmi and Kafin Sule wards of the local government area.