The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the Taraba State Primary Health Care Development Agency has provided free medical services to hundreds of pregnant women and under-five children in 72 Hard-to-Reach (HTR) communities in Kurmi Local Government Area of the state.
The state Coordinator of the HTR Project, Dr Benjamin Andeyaba, who led a team of Doctors and Nurses to the communities, made this known to journalists in Baissa, headquarters of the local council.
Andeyaba explained that the programme was aimed at delivering free basic medical care to persons, especially mothers and children under the ages of five, who find it extremely difficult to access medicare as a result of the inaccessible nature of their homes and settlements.
He said that the communities were carefully chosen to make sure that mothers and their children have access to quality healthcare, despite the remote nature of their villages and lack of money due to low income.
“This programme is actually tagged ‘Hard-To-Reach’ because it specifically targets communities that are rather unconventionally so remote that most of the people, especially mothers and children, have little chances of accessing medical care.
“You can see that in most of the villages we have visited there is no medical facility close by,” he said.
He said that the exercise, which has been going on in the area for more than two weeks, was made up of the service providers, the HTR and local government teams.
“Services provided at each location included Vitamin A supplement, de-worming, antenatal, care for malnourished children, immunisation against Yellow fever, measles, oral polio, BCG and Penter,’’ he said.
At the Gidan-Yaro centre, the team leader Salamatu Andeyang, expressed enthusiasm at the high level response they received from the communities.
She said although the terrain was difficult as the team travelled on motorcycles or trekked to reach such communities, they were very happy to provide such humanitarian services to the needy.
Responding, the community leader of Gidan-Yaro, Mr Habu Yaro, expressed appreciation at the medical intervention by UNICEF and the state government.
Yaro however appealed to the Local and State Governments to provide social services such as clinics, boreholes and schools in the area.
He explained that pregnant women are relocated to Baissa when their pregnancy reaches advanced stages because of bad nature of the roads.
The HTR project was introduced in 2016 to last for three years following the signing of an MoU between UNICEF and the state government.
The programme, which is winding up in December 2018, is covering 12 HTR local government areas out of the 16 council areas of the state.