Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Thirteen states of the federation, including Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Kwara, Niger, Taraba, Gombe, Yobe, Adamawa, Ogun, Osun and Delta states are currently benefiting from the health and peace initiative supported by the Global Fund (GF).
The health initiative is being driven by the Civil Society in Malaria Control, Immunisation and Nutrition (ACOMIN).
ACOMIN said it has so far commenced work on the prevention, treatment and mitigation of the impact of malaria as well as the promotion of immunisation and better nutrition in the 13 states in Nigeria.
The states are also benefiting from peace building initiative of ACOMIN among the warring communities.
Presenting its report at a conference in Abuja, ACOMIN said conflicts between communities and/or individuals have led to lower patronage of GF-supported health facilities in some of the states before ACOMIN’s interventions.
“By facilitating the resolution of some of these conflicts, this project has increased patronage of the health centres, thereby reducing the risk of medicines and health commodities going bad in the stores of the facilities. Some of the places where this happened included: Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State, where two communities that have been at loggerhead for many years agreed to put aside their differences and work towards peace following the intervention of the team from ACOMIN,” the non-governmental organisation said.
The report said the team embarked upon advocacy visits to the traditional leaders of both communities when they saw that members of one community were shunning the GF supported Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) because it was located in the neighbouring community which they considered as enemies.
Similar peace-building advocacy visits were carried out in Jikuchi community, Bosso Local Government Area of Niger State; Oke-Ijemo community in Abeokuta South Local Government Area of Ogun State; and Sabon Gari community in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
The group, which is also partnering with the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) under the ongoing Global Fund (GF) Malaria Grant for the implementation of the civil society component, said because health centres are the first point of call when serious health challenges arise, there’s need to ensure standards in hygiene, safety and the like in any building being used for healthcare, noting that matters pertaining to life and death get addressed there.
“Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) are the closest health facilities to rural communities. Without PHCs, residents of rural communities may be left stranded, or be subjected to much more difficulty when they need to access quality health services. This is why ACOMIN makes effort to ensure that the PHCs are in good shape to serve people.
“It said, so far, several PHCs have gotten renovated as a result of our efforts. These include the PHC in Minjibir Local Government Area of Kano State; Odowara PHC in Ife East Local Government Area of Osun State and Olooti Iragbiji health facility in Boripe Local Government Area of Osun State. Also, Adagbrassa PHC in Okpe Local Government Area of Delta State was reopened due to our intervention after being shut down for about a year,” ACOMIN said.
According to the report, people in hard-to-reach areas often get denied of health services or go through increased difficulty to access health services, leading to unnecessary morbidity and high mortality rates.
To reduce the difficulties, suffering and deaths caused by malaria in these places, ACOMIN said it has taken malaria interventions to the following communities: Kaboji community in Niger State; Chambaji community in Yola South Local Government Area of Adamawa State; and some other communities in Yobe and Gombe states.
Other successes recorded by ACOMIN health initiative, included rehabilitation of health facilities in Ubandawaki community of Daura Local Government Area of Katsina State where existing health facility has deteriorated due to years of neglect.