By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – The second round of the 2018 biennial Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Week, (MNCHW), has witnessed massive turnout of women and children in Kaduna State.
The exercise which is conducted twice a year by the state government and supported by UNICEF and other development partners began on Monday January 7 and will end on Friday January 11.
The goal is to mobilised women and children to access free health services provided at health centres, to ensure safe delivery for pregnant women and healthy development of children.
Other key services that are provided during the exercise include immunisation, care for pregnant women, deworming, child spacing lectures and services, promotion of key household practices, hand washing, good nutrition practices and use of treated mosquito nets.
At the Igabi Local Government Area of the state, it was observed that women and children thronged the Primary Healthcare Centres as early as 7am to benefit from the programme.
Also, the Primary Health Care (PHC) at Rigachikun was filled with women and children from different communities, who were seen accessing various health services.
The Officer In-Charge of the facility, Mrs. Linda Buki, expressed satisfaction, saying that the turnout was great.
“We have never experienced this massive turnout of women for this exercise where we attended to over 725 women and children on the first day of the exercise.
“The number increased to 922 on the second day before dropping to 646 on the third day, higher than the about 500, the highest recorded during the first phase of the exercise in June 2018,” she said.
At the PHC Mararaban Jos where about 70 women and children were seen attended to, Mrs. Hassana Kudan who is in charge of the facility, informed Daily News Precise that over 100 women and children were daily attended to.
“There is huge turnout compared to the last exercise, where we attended to an average of between 50 and 60 women and children daily.
“We really commend the state government, National OrientationAgency, (NOA), UNICEF and other relevant stakeholders for mobilising women to come out enmasse to access the services,” she said.
UNICEF Focal Person in NOA, Kaduna Office, Malam Lawal Haruna, attributed the massive turnout of women and children to the aggressive mobilisation carried out by NOA and other stakeholders.
He said that mothers and caregivers were mobilised in about 12 LGAs for the exercise including Birnin Gwari, Giwa, Igabi, Ikara, Lere, Kagarko, Kauru, Kubau, Kudan, Sanga, Soba and Zankgon Kataf.
Haruna explained that the mobilisation, supported by UNICEF Kaduna Field Office, was successful because of the engagement of traditional and religious leaders through advocacy visits and workshops.
“We equally mobilised community members to participate in the exercise through community dialogue, theatre for development, radio jingles, distribution of pamphlets and other information materials to enlighten the public,” he said.
Some of the women who spoke to Daily News Precise commended the State Government, UNICEF and other stakeholders for providing free healthcare services, drugs and other help tips crucial to their survival and the development of their children.