29-year-old mother of four, Mrs. Zainab Sarki and her family were thrown into mourning recently after her younger sister lost two babies consecutively due to poor health care at a health centre in Karimo, a satellite town in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.
Narrating her story to Nigerian Pilot Metro, Mrs. Sarki said that her sister went into labour around 2am, and on reaching the health centre which is the nearest to them, no one was available to help them out, and as a result, she lost the baby in the process.
In another instance, she explained that the nurse abandoned them for long hours because they did not have the 20,000 Naira that they were demanding and the sister lost another baby.
She said the rate of maternal mortality in the community is very high due to the absence of a good hospital to carter for the pregnant women.
According to her many women in the community die at the stage of child delivery because the only health centre they patronise is poorly equipped, lacks trained personnel’s to cater for them and usually they are required to pay huge sums which they cannot afford.
Mrs Awa Usman, a mother of two, in the community said women in the community are facing a serious challenge when it comes to health care. According to her, there is no suitable hospital in the community to cater for their wellbeing especially when it comes to child birth. We have just one health centre which serves other neigbouring community like Idu.
She said, “Most times the women cannot give birth in the health centre because complications may arise which the health attendants with little expertise will not be able to cater for. Because of that, pregnant women have to travel long distances to get to Gwarimpa, Wuse or Garki where they can give birth safely in a clean and conducive environment.”
Mrs. Usman added that quite often, in the process of transporting these women to town, most of them give birth along the way in unpleasant conditions in the cars and some even lose their lives with that of their unborn child, thus making maternal mortality in the community to be very high.
In another experience, Mrs. Usman said, “It was not easy me when I wanted to deliver my own baby. I went into labour at about 1.am and my husband had to go out to look for a vehicle that will convey me to the hospital in town that early morning because it will be a very big disappointment visiting the health center close to me in Karmo.”
On the educational aspect, she said that the community needs a Senior Secondary school as the only school in the community is a Junior Secondary School. “Our children have to go to other towns or communities to attend school at very high costs and because of the high school fees in the Senior Secondary Schools, most children have to drop out of school and some of the girls are forced to marry at a tender age,” she said.
She said widows in the community suffer a lot as most of them are faced with sole responsibility of taking care of their families by doing all sorts of odd jobs like digging sand and packing of rubbish.
Mrs. Usman called on the Federal Government to carryout empowerment programmes for women in the community so that they can develop themselves and financially cater for their family.
Another indigene, Miss Zainab Musa said the women in the community are suffering a lot in terms of health care .She said due to language barrier the women are usually faced with discrimination when they get to hospitals in town.
“My in-law gave birth to quadruplets in the health centre and they were transferred to Gwarimpa hospital for proper care but on reaching there, the nurses in Gwarimpa ignored them because they are illiterate and could not express themselves.”
However, the youth Leader of Karmo, Abdullahi Musa Dan Galadima, said most of them have lost their lands and properties to the Federal Government, adding that they are presently having challenges with their educational set-up as there are few teachers to cater for the need of the hundreds of pupils who troop into the classrooms in search of education.
“We don’t have a senior Secondary School in this area. We had once applied to the Federal Government asking for the establishment of a Senior Secondary School here but nothing has been done because we had a misunderstanding with them. As a result of the misunderstanding, the Senior Secondary School was taken to another community. Because of this, our children are compelled to travel long distances to Garki, Wuse or Gwarimpa just to attend classes. The expenses are too much. We need the attention of the Federal Government to improve on the learning environment so that pupils can learn effectively,” he pleaded.
He also explained that the lack of hospital has caused several damages on their lives. “This issue of hospital in this community has lingered for years.
He also said, “Most pregnant women in the community give birth along the way because of difficulty in getting timely transportation to convey them to the hospital. Some even die before they are taken to the hospital. We have a health centre shared between the people of Idu and Karmo.
There are few personnel in this hospital and most times they cannot handle complications especially in case of delivery. The hospitals too are not properly equipped and this is a major challenge. We are calling on the Federal Government to come to our aid.”
On the structure of the Karmo, Mr. Musa said Karmo is not properly organised, rubbish dumps, poor drainage systems increasing infant mortality in the area and leading to the outbreak of certain diseases such as Cholera.
“Last year the community had an outbreak of Cholera which was tackled but presently Malaria, Typhoid is currently eating deep into the community leading to the death of many“he narrated.
Meanwhile, the Project Officer of Media Information and Narrative Development, MIND, Ummi Bukar, said that the essence of such community development project was to opportunity to voiceless women to remind government of the social contract with the people which includes provision of social amenities.
She explained further that the focus is on women because the project seeks to know the implications of gender urban poverty on women.
“We are giving them the opportunity to air out their views and we will prioritise the major issues they have raised so that those who can do something about it will swing into action.”
While waiting on the Federal Government to respond to some of concerns raised by the women of Karmo, it is vital to note that the satellite town remains home to millions of people who cannot afford the high costs of living in the city centres.

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