Residents of Jankasa community, a village in Kaduna state, have decried the absence of a health facility in their area, saying, they travel 15km on motorcycles to get access.
It is noteworthy that most rural areas/dwellers in Nigeria are being deprived and neglected of basic infrastructural developments – most of which are concentrated in urban centers. These infrastructures range from limited or no access to modern farm implements, productive resources and schools, portable water, good feeder roads, irrigation facilities and, most importantly, health facilities; this situation results to low quality of life.
Hence, there is the need to develop the health sector so as to enhance the quality of life, especially to the most vulnerable – women and children.
Many of these rural areas have limited numbers of health care providers, especially women’s health providers, which put them at high risk; some lose their lives from complications arising during pregnancy and after birth, a result of many factors, which includes: poor attendance for prompt and continued antenatal care, drug stock out, inadequate or irregular funding of health the sector, as well as poor access to skilled delivery.
Like every other state in the country, Kaduna state is also faced with these enormous challenges, which results to an increasing maternal mortality among women living in rural areas.
With a population of more than 6 million people, health care services are provided from a total of 1,692 health care facilities of which 40.2 percent belong to private sector; 96.5 percent of all these facilities are primary health care centers, 3.2 percent are secondary health care centers, while 0.3 are tertiary health care facilities. In the state, there are about 150 medical doctors and 1616 nurses that attend to patients in public hospitals.
Findings have also revealed that, it is either some of the PHCs are overcrowded by clients or are not patronized by clients due to distance, insufficient health personnel and infrastructures.
Jankasa Village in Kujama, Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna state, is a typical example of a village deprived of infrastructural developments. It is located about 25km away from Kaduna metropolis with a population of over 300 people. It has three major tribes – Kadara, Fulani and Gbaygi, and has farming as their major occupation.
According to the village Youth leader, Garba Gajera, the village has been in existence for over 50 years and had never enjoyed any form of infrastructural development.
He said the community lacks a single health facility to take their pregnant wives and children whenever the need arises; noting that, they have always had to take such patients on motorcycles – for a distance covering 15km, in order to access a health facility.
He said, “For instance, when a woman’s labour comes at night, we use motorcycle in company of four-to-five others as escort to covey her to hospital,l because the road is not safe; but most times they give birth at home with the help of other women.”
Gajere further pointed out that they have lost two women in 2015 during childbirth as a result of complications that arose beyond the women’s’ control in the village.
He however, called on both the local and state governments to come to their rescue by building a health facility in Jankasa as they have vast land to offer for the development of a clinic.
A pregnant woman, Mrs. Tina Iliya, a resident of the community, called on government to build a health facility in the area. She said they do not have even a chemist to procure Panadol or take their children to when they fall sick.
To Mrs. Iliya, facility visit for antenatal is unappealing to her; she hopes to deliver at home. She said, “I hope to deliver at home when my time is due. For instance, I don’t go for antenatal because of distance; I do not know my expectant date of delivery, so I am just hoping, when it comes, I will deliver at home.”
Another woman, Rhoda Ezekiel, a mother of two, said, since her pregnancy, she went for antenatal thrice at the general hospital in Kujama where she gave birth, but however, called on government to see the possibility of setting up functional PHCs closer to the people in rural areas so as to save women from dying due to inaccessibility to health facilities.
It is worthy of note here, too, that there is absence of trained Traditional Birth Attendants in Jankasa.