Guest contribution from: Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed, Community Mobilization Specialist, Targeted States High Impact Project (TSHIP), Bauchi State, Nigeria
TSHIP aims to improve maternal and child health in Nigeria by strengthening health services and enhancing community participation. An example of the latter follows:
Five Ward Development Committees [WDCs] in Pali and Kungibar Districts of Alkaleri Local Government Area inÂ Bauchi State have initiated a community approach to emergency transportation for pregnant women and children.Â This is at the background to recent 2OO8 NDHS survey which showed high rates of maternal and child mortalities in the North-East part of Nigeria.
The initiative which saw a strong commitment on the parts of different community and ward structures like the National Union of Road Transport Workers [NURTW], Okada Riders Association (motorcycle taxi drivers), Health Providers, Traditional and Religious leaders, was witnessed by other stakeholders such as Alkaleri LGA whose Chairman was represented at the occasion by the Director PHC.
The event was marked with a short drama presentation (see at right) highlighting the objective of the Emergency Transport Team [ETT], which is to provide free transport service to pregnant women and children under 5 from all the communities within the five wards.Â Mobile phone numbers of the executive committee members and that of other drivers and motorcycle drivers in the scheme were provided at the inauguration for ease of contact. (see transportation committee members at left)
In his brief speech at the occasion, the visiting Chairman of Bara WDC in Kirfi, Malam Haruna Katukan Bara, says ‘I am here to learn about this unique experience and also help my ward in replicating it.’ He also urge community members to support the good works of the WDCs towards the development of humanity.
Finally, one of the community’s traditional birth attendants (right) thanked the committee for taking action to save the lives of pregnant women in the wards.