By Mohammed Ismail, Yola
Sangere, is a sleepy agrarian suburb of Yola, the Adamawa State capital. The community, located about two kilometers from the welcome to Yola gate, is sandwiched between Ngurore and Jimeta towns.
Despite its proximity to the state capital, Sangere community which play host to about 10,000 residents, lacks a number of social amenities including a good hospital, this paper can authoritatively reveal.
The only existing medical facility in the community is a dispensary being operated by AFCOTT Nigeria Ltd, an agricultural based supply company located at Ngurore, along Numan highway.
A number of residents, including two ward heads interviewed by this paper said, the only services which they get free of charge is routine immunization, administered on children between 1-5 years to prevent the five child-killer diseases and to a large extent, antenatal care for pregnant women.
A survey conducted by this paper indicated that, the compliance on immunization is almost 100% as people have accepted it as one of the basic survival strategies to prevent their children for dying very early in life.
There is also a convergence of agreement on the fact that sensitization programs on Radio, have played very key roles in creating awareness around the two subjects, hence enhancing their acceptability by all and sundry as almost all the respondents said they receive a lot of information from the radio.
They noted that, radio sensitization, has helped in slaying some age-long myths that immunization is a future population control mechanism, to depopulate the country.
Responding to enquiries by this medium, Umaru Sale Sangere, the ward head of Sangere A, said, the compliance on immunization by both community and the healthcare providers was total and comprehensive.
“There is total compliance by the people and the workers as immunization has become part of our daily lives.
“Because of its acceptability, we have not recorded epidemic in respect of the child killer diseases as they have become things of the past.
” We get a lot of information from the radio stations and also by the health workers especially at the dispensary,” he said.
While urging the government to come to their rescue by building a befitting hospital, the ward head said it is insensitive for the government to allow a community of about 10,000 residents to exist without a healthcare facility, saying that the development has nixed any attempt of providing a robust antenatal and postnatal services to women and children.
“This is a community of about 10,000 people but we are yet to get even a primary healthcare facility. The only medical facility we have is the one operated by AFCOTT. Although pregnant women receive basic postnatal care, they have to be referred to other hospitals for more complex challenges.
“We want the government to come to our rescue in this regard as our daughters go through serious pains when they encounter complex challenges during pregnancy,” the ward head said.
Also corroborating the ward head, a resident of the community, Abdulkadir Audu, said routine immunization in the area is total and comprehensive.
“Sometimes they administer the immunization more than three times in a year. And there is total compliance by the people as I never heard anyone rejecting the service. Right now as I’m talking to you, immunization is taking place.
” We must acknowledge the role played by the electronic media including radio and TV stations to shore up positive public perceptions around immunization. But we need government to build a hospital for us because going by our population, we deserve to get one,” he said.
In his submission, an elder in the community, Joel Elam appreciates the roles played by the traditional institution, especially the ward heads towards the overall success of the exercise.
“We must acknowledge and appreciate the pragmatic roles being played by the traditional institution especially the ward heads for always mobilizing the people to partake in the exercise.
” The electronic media, especially the radio, is also playing vital roles towards sensitizing the people, leading to the overall success of the immunization exercise which has become part of our lives now.
“These trajectories have helped a lot in nipping the child-killer diseases in the bud. I have actually forgotten the last time I heard of infection of these dreaded diseases, thanks to the vigilance of the government and donor agencies.
” But we have one basic challenge, which is lack of a hospital. We need government to come to our aid in this regard,” the elder said.
Habiba Sangere, a female resident of the area while speaking to our reporter said, rigorous campaign by the media, the religious bodies as well as well as the provision of supplement to malnourished children have helped in boosting the successes of the immunization drive.
“Some of the myths surrounding immunization have been dispelled by rigorous campaigns in the radio, and by our religious leaders. Another issue that helped the exercise is the provision of supplement for malnourished children as one of the requirements before administering such aid is the evidence of immunization.
” Before these methods were adopted, people use to drive away healthcare providers because of the belief that it may induce infertility in the future. But now everyone has embraced it and we have stop recording cases of child-killer diseases in a long time,” she said.
Also responding, Hurera Abdullahi, another female resident of Sangere said, “as far as I’m concerned, people have wholeheartedly embraced immunization and the exercise has come to stay.
“From time to time, we record incidences of chicken pox but it usually comes with mild symptoms as a result of the immunization.
Like others, Abdullahi regrettably noted that lack of a good hospital presents a major challenge for antenatal and postnatal administration.
“We don’t have enough staff and medicine at our dispensary. Our pregnant women usually get support from the dispensary.
“Some times during pregnancy, women encounter shortage of blood, malaria and high blood pressure which are difficult to manage in the healthcare facility due to shortage of man and equipment.
” Most times we have to go to Ngurore or even Yola to get better treatment especially on complex issues,” she said.
“Like in the area of immunization, media campaign has helped as men are now allowing their wives to access such antenatal and postnatal services,” she said.
Also speaking on behalf of the ward head of Sangere B, Umaru Musa, Idris Misa said, people have over the years embraced immunization as such there is complete harmony between all the stakeholders in the immunization value chain.
“The service providers, the people and the traditional institution are on the same page as far as this community is concerned. What the traditional institution does is to help in communicating the exercise to the people whenever it begins.
” It is usually a seamless exercise with no hitches. The only challenge we encounter is that the dispensary we have is too small to accommodate our ever increasing population,” he said.
A young resident of the area, Adamu Mohammed also called on the authorities to ensure that a befitting hospital is provided in the area adding that the success of antenatal and postnatal care can only be made if there is a well equipped hospital.
He said the only dispensary they have is I’ll equipped and grossly understaffed.
“Sometimes my pregnant wife spend the whole day on queue because the dispensary is seriously understaffed. There is no way the antenatal services will be effective without a good medical facility,” he said.
While commending the authorities for their doggedness in providing immunization, Mohammed called on the government to enhance healthcare delivery in the area by building a good hospital.