A Non Governmental Organisation, Milestone Rehabilitation Foundation has carried out a community health and harm reduction outreach to 200 women in Nasarawa Community of the Southern part of Kaduna State.
A board member of the Foundation, Hajiya Safiya Umar said they were at the community to reach out to 200 women suffering from ailments particularly HIV, Hepatitis, diabetes and blood pressure.
“Our choice of women solely is because they are mostly afraid to be open and discuss their ailments. While some suffer stigmatization, others can’t even afford to check their health status in the hospital, hence the outreach.”
Safiya gave an instance of a woman who said she suffered headache for over a year and when checked, her blood pressure was over 230/130.
“Such women could suffer stroke, so the immediate thing was to refer her to a health facility to access proper medication.”
She said it was deliberate choosing women from their team to conduct the test so that the women could feel free and discuss their worries/issues.
“We also look forward to listening to those who have been affected by substance abuse. We want to encourage them to stop, get rehabilitated and start a new life,” Safiya stressed.
The Executive Director of the Foundation, Doctor Ebiti William said the Drop in Centre, DIC was an average activity, one in a series of many that have been carried out by the Foundation to reach out to the less privileged who cannot afford medical care services.
“We are running a DIC around Kabala community, specific for women and then found out that most of the women had never had access to medical services at all, hence the decision to go round the three Senatorial zones to educate people provide basic mental health services, medical and social services. For some of them, we refer to general hospitals for treatment and also do counselling,” he stated.
Doctor William called on relevant stakeholders, particularly goverment and corporate bodies to take advantage of such services by funding it.
“Government could as well widen it’s activities because there are people that can be used for this kind of activities like the health extension workers and also bringing down the program to communities that are less privileged who cannot afford basic health instead of areas where the high profile reside,” he urged.
He said the reason women were targeted was because men have many options of accessing health services on their own, saying hopefully, a DIC will soon be set up where women, men and children can be reached.
A beneficiary, Dorcos Paul extended her gratitude to the Foundation, saying, “prior to this outreach, alot of people in our community didn’t know their status. They have been living with HIV, Hepatitis, diabetes or high blood pressure. I call on others who have remained indoors to come out and not hide in their shells, it’s better to know your status and get treated and live happily.”
The medical outreach program was carried out in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC and the European Union.