By: Our Correspondent
KEBBI, North-West, Nigeria – The Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Sama’ila Muhammad, has commended the European Union, (EU), and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), for their various intervention programmes to boost healthcare delivery in Kebbi State.
The Royal Father gave the commendation when a team led by UNICEF Communication Specialist, Rabiu Musa, visited his palace on Tuesday.
He said the intervention has transformed healthcare delivery system in most hard-to-reach communities and urban centres of the state; and charged the donor agencies for more engagement with traditional and religious leaders for community development.
He said this was the only effective way development of communities could be fast tracked to institutionalized ownership of programmes.
While appealing for provision of accommodation for service providers wherever health facility is built, he noted that in some of the rural areas facilities were available, but was most inappropriate that service providers live very far from them.
“Child delivery can happen anytime and there is need for doctors and nurses to be around 24 hours and that is only possible if they were accommodated within the facility.
“So just as you are providing equipment it is also important to provide accommodation for workers. There is also the need to intensify community engagement with traditional and religious leaders; as they need to work very closely not just for provision of interventions, but to also know what the needs of the communities are.”
Speaking further the Emir said, “if I want to recount these interventions, there are numerous, our people have really felt the impact of what EU is doing, especially the ‘I care for the pregnant women’, the equipment we received here in Argungu became responsible for State Government intervention.
“Under this programme we have enjoyed a lot of extensions and improvements in our facilities; from buildings to operators and staff to several others. The intervention has also made it possible for us to build a strong relationship with health workers and community mobilization efforts which have increased the acceptance rate of routine immunization by the people.
“Also, the provision of motorcycles has made it easier for health workers to move from one place to another, especially in hard-to-reach areas to ensure that our women and children receive healthcare assistance. These and many more are the impacts and benefits our people have received from EU/UNICEF health initiative.
“The programme has been most helpful and it is our hope and prayers that it be extended. Our state has very low revenue, with increasing population by the day. The demand for healthcare services is also on the increase, facilities are becoming insufficient for the population and interventions like these are the only way states in a country like Nigeria can meet their citizen’s health needs.
“So we thank the initiators of this programme and everyone involved especially the health workers, community mobilizers and volunteers. They have contributed richly to it.
“On behalf of traditional rulers in Northern Nigeria, I want to sincerely say that we are most grateful to EU/UNICEF for enduring to work with us for many years now. That goodwill has helped a lot in mobilizing resources and made sure that what was given is delivered to where it is supposed to make the best impact,” the Emir said.