Nigeria: Kaduna Community Where Pregnant Women Die Due To Government Neglect


KANGIMIN UBANGIDA is a community in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Northwest Nigeria that has been abandoned in all facet of life by successive administrations in the state, yet they pay taxes and participate in politics. It is35km away from Kaduna town and about 12 km away from the local government headquarters with a population of about 9,000 to 10,000 inhabitants made up of surrounding villages. It lacks all modern amenities including health facilities. The inhabitants are predominantly peasant farmers or petty traders. They trek or bike for 21 to 35km to access near decent health facilities. Investigation revealed that they have existed for over 200 years, but successive government in the state ignored them and their wives and children are left to die unattended during pregnancies writes Dominic Uzu

 

The story of Kangimin Ubangida could be likened to the fate of Gwauro Community still in Igabi Local government, they share everything in common, except that the latter has resorted to self-help, trying to build health center through community effort while the former still remains helpless as they converted the village head palace to temporary antenatal center. Apart from that, the two communities are seriously in dilemma of accessing health and other social amenities to reduce the high rate of maternal and infant mortality in the areas.

From our investigations, the profile of the community in focus has long met World Health Organisation (WHO) criteria which stipulates that a community must hit a population of 10,000 or stay as far as 5km away from the nearest health clinic, health post or primary healthcare Center.  Kangimin Ubangida has the population and stays in a distance of 12km to the nearest health post but the Director of Health in Igabi Local Government Area, Mr. Barem Habila who accepted that he was very new in the community doubts if the community qualified to have Primary Healthcare Center. As if that was the only thing they lack. Pregnant women lost their babies on the bumpy road of Kangimin trying to attend antenatal in Kaduna town. They also lack portable water, no electricity, no schools. The only thing that has semblance of school in the area was a block of two mod classrooms erected by the community. Children die of malaria, typhoid and other diseases that easily breakout in the community.

A residence of one of the Kangimin citizen

A residence of one of the Kangimin citizen

Living in Kangimin Ubangida could be compared to someone living in hell or in a war-torn community or worst still in a community hit by severe drought as pregnant mothers and their children go through torture of all kinds, trying to survive the harsh and cruel environment they found themselves due to lack of basic amenities of life. Successive governments have consistently abandoned this people despite several promises during electioneering periods.

This is perhaps the community that has recorded the highest rate of maternal and infant mortality in Igabi Local Government if not Kaduna state as a whole in recent time as the Village Head, Alhaji Abdullahi Ubangida simply told this reporter that about 120 women died during child birth in five years, an average of 24 death per year and about 60 children also died within the year in review.

“We have continued to bury our wives and infants in this community due to lack of hospital or any medical facility of any kind. Women die here due to pregnancy complications or during delivery because we don’t have any emergency arrangement for pregnant mothers neither do we have trained nurses or health workers here. I have lost count of women and children who died here but from 2013, we may have lost up to 120 women through one pregnancy complications or the other and over 60 infants have also died.

“What I have been doing for the past five years since the demise of my father who was also the Village head of Kangimin Ubangida is to use my car to convey any emergency situation to Mararaba Jos or Kawo, Kaduna which is a distance of about 21 and 35 kilometers respectively. Emergency can occur at any time, some time they wake me up at 3am sometimes midnight we will hit the road to Kaduna town. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes they die on our way. Like last week, we lost Hauwa Kabir during one of the emergencies. She was in labor and our intention was to rush her to Amana Clinic or Kawo General Hospital because of the nature of the complications but on our way we lost her. That is how bad it has been,” the Village head narrated

one of the health talk at the village head house

Children and women been attended to at one of the health talk at the village head house

 

 Unguwarzomas (Traditional Birth Attendants) or the Quacks to the Rescue

In a situation where the village head was not around in an emergency situation to convey such patient to PHC, Aisha A. Abdullahi, Hafsat A. Dauda,Nana Ubangida and Hajara Sani known as Unguwarzomas (traditional birth attendantswill take charge. These women have no formal medical training but their clients would have no option than to submit to them as they apply the traditional way of delivery on them because they don’t have the financial means of going to Kaduna town for delivery. Sometimes, the fear of the unknown due to the bumpy roads and the condition of the patient, the locals and the quacks will be allowed to take charge.

One woman that was favoured by divine providence in this community was Aisha Abdullahi 33, a mother of eight (8) children who had all her children at home except her first born. For her it was share luck and determination to endure during pregnancy; “Having babies in our community was like going to hell because we have a lot of challenges. I was extremely lucky because my husband was ready to sponsor my going to Kawo General Hospital for Antenatal but it was very exorbitant, many families in my community could not afford it.”

Aisha is one of the Unguwarzomas (traditional birth attendants) who took to this profession because of the situation in her community. She said she had no formal training in birth attendant other than what she learnt from her mother-in-law; “I took interest in child delivery because so many women were dying in our community. If my mother in-law who is also a traditional birth attendant is not around and the Village head who conveys the women to hospitals in the town is not around, we usually have crisis, so I decided to watch them when they attend to expecting mothers and that was how I became one of them.”

Our investigations also revealed that women in this community are now scared of becoming pregnant because of the uncertainty. Nobody wants to experience the troubles associated with pregnancy, whether newly married or old couples. Sometimes if a mother survives it her child may not because of so many challenges like Malaria or Typhoid which usually attack the new born baby and because of no medical facility, the child will die. Both young and new have embraced family planning in this community.

This is the only source of water within this community

This is the only source of water within this community

When Government Turns Deaf Ears

According to the Village Head, they have done everything humanly possible to attract government attention but to no avail; “My father tried making the government to build a Primary Healthcare center while he was alive but he didn’t succeed and he was 103 years when he died. Within this short period of my taking over as the head here, precisely in 2013 we tried to reach the government twice, during Namadi Sambo and late Ibrahim Yakowa on the same issue but it failed again. When this government came to power we were very optimistic that our prayers will be answered, we again approached them to remind them of our previous letter in 2008. In that meeting we were given hope of having electricity that year. We even made some effort by clearing and cutting the trees on the road but alas, it didn’t also work. We went to the local government headquarters and represented our request for Primary Healthcare Center, water, school but it was all empty promises. After our concerted effort and nothing was coming from the government, I donated part of my palace to serve as a make shift clinic where the women could be coming for their antenatal.

A copy of one of the several letters from the community to the Igabi Local Government, requesting for PHC.

A copy of one of the several letters from the community to the Igabi Local Government, requesting for PHC.




“At this time, we were losing our women and infants frequently, again, I decided to go to the Igabi Local Government Headquarters to complain and one Hajiya Binta a medical health worker was attached to us and asked to be coming to check the women from time to time. We were grateful to this arrangement but it was not enough as she does not reside here with us. The last letter we wrote to the Igabi Local Government, requesting for a four-bed health facility was dated 14th July, 2008 and nothing was done.”

According to Mr. Barem, Igabi Local Government has 68 clinics but had to close eight (8) due to lack of man power. He said it is not easy to build clinics all over the place without man power to do the job; “Besides the State Primary Healthcare has a guide line for establishing a clinic which says that the population of the community must be up to 10,000 and the proximity 5km away from the nearest clinic or PHC.

“Though I am relatively new in this local government, I resumed here June last year but even Mararaba Jos that has density population can hardly get 10,000 people.

“That does not mean that we will not attend to them, I do know that in one of our outreaches, one health worker who goes there to attend to women and children on monthly basis to see pregnant mothers and give the children polio, BCG vaccine still goes there. I will be going there this morning to ascertain the true situation particularly their population.

Still the Community source of water

Still the Community source of water

“Any woman who died as a result of child birth is a big problem to us and that is why the local government directed that every care center must record any death as a result of pregnancy so we can take measures to stop future occurrence. Our major problem here is that majority of the women prefer to give birth at home and that is one of the major contributors to maternal mortality. We have record of every pregnant woman in Igabi and children from age 0-5 years because they are the most vulnerable and like I said I will be going to Kangimin Ubangida this morning to take their statistics. Presently we have 68 clinics in Igabi and we had to close eight (8) of them because of lack of technical personnel. We need about 133 technical workers to start with and until we get them, it will be very difficult to attend to everybody adequately but we know that the state government is making effort to employ about 3,000 technical personnel,”

At the Kaduna State Primary Healthcare Agency, one of the Deputy Directors, Hamza Ibrahim Ikara promised to look into the plight of Kangimin Ubangida with the view of attaching them with the closest facility where they can access medical care for now and or medical health workers send to the community.

The question is, how long will this community wait before basic amenities or dividends of democracy could reach them?

Curled from CitySource NG




Posted by on 12/11/2018. Filed under Health, Investigations, Special. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Please Leave a Reply