13, 771 expectant mothers, children benefit from emergency transport scheme in Kebbi – Official

No fewer than 13, 771 pregnant women and under-5 children have benefited from an Emergency Transport Scheme (ETS) initiated by UNCEF and European Union (EU) in Kebbi State in the past three years.

Mr Yusuf Yahuza, ETS Programme Officer, state’s Primary Health Care Development Agency (PHCDA), stated this at a media interactive session on Tuesday in Birnin Kebbi.

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Yahuza disclosed that 13, 771 expected mothers and children benefited from free transport services under the ETS scheme between 2017 and 2019.

He explained that the programme was designed to convey pregnant women and children under five years in emergency to the nearest health facility for prompt medical attention.

According to him, a total of 3, 430 women and children were transported under the scheme in 2017; 5, 181 in 2018 and 5, 160 in 2019.

“The figures comprised of 10, 556 pregnant women who were mostly in labour and 3, 250 children suffering from various child killer diseases that requires emergency attention,” he said.

Yahuza who described the scheme “a huge success”, noted that the main goal was to reduce delays associated with conveying people on emergencies to the nearest health posts particularly in hard-to-reach areas with no health facility.

He said the scheme was under the UNICEF and EU-supported Maternal, New-born, Child Health and Nutrition (MNCHN) project, designed to enhance access to quality healthcare services.

Yahuza added that the programme was being implemented in collaboration with the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), the state Ministries of Health and Women Affairs as well as PHCDA.

Others are the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO), and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).

The programme officer revealed that a total of 21 focal persons and 675 drivers were trained and equipped by UNICEF and EU, to facilitate smooth implementation of the scheme in 21 Local Government Areas of the state.

One of the ETS drivers, Mohammed Sifawa, described the scheme as “a service to humanity”.

Sifawa said that he often conveys women in labour to the hospitals in the middle of the night.

“We receive calls sometimes between 12: 00 AM and 2:00 AM, and we have to respond because for a woman in labour, it is between life and death.

“Once we get to the hospital we wait until the woman deliver and then transport her back to her house at no cost, because it was the right thing to do,” said.

Also commenting, Alhassan Aliyu, the NURTW Secretary in Argungu LGA, said that the ETS drivers who carry out such services were made to load their vehicles before any other drivers as incentives.

Aliyu explained that the drivers were attached to specific communities and their phone numbers made available to the community members to call during emergencies for immediate transportation to the hospitals.

According to him, the scheme has helped in building mutual relations between community members and the drivers, adding that such relationship is helping to save lives.

On his part, Aminu Mohammed, the Director, Road Traffic, Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO), said that their role was to ensure that the drivers were qualified and licensed.

Mohammed said that the drivers, kitted with reflective jackets, face cap and Identification Card, were given speedy passage on the highways to prevent delay.

Also, Abdullahi Mohammed, the Route Commander of the FRSC, said that the drivers were adequately trained on how to transport women and children during emergency.

“We particularly trained them on how to ensure that their vehicles are in good shape before conveying any woman; they are also exposed to Highway Code and the need to obey traffic rules,” Mohammed added.


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