It is no longer news that
Nigeria is the second country
in the world with the highest
maternal mortality cases.
Similarly, it is not also news that
more and more communities in
the rural areas in the country
have no access to primary
health care facilities thereby
resulting in increasing number
of women dying as a result of
childbirth. Where they are such
facilities, they are in decrepit
condition. Many women have
suffered and some continue to
suffer permanent injuries in the
course of child birth.
It is a general belief in the
medical circle that inability of
women to access good health care
services or professional medical
attention during childbirth is
responsible for the significant
figure of maternal mortality
currently put at over 570,000
(NDHS 2013) on annual basis in
the country.
Experts have also identified
distance as one of the problems
contributing to the country’s
maternal and newborn mortality
rate by approximately 15%. In
cases where the women survive,
they are left with life threatening
conditions, and in such cases, a
distance of 5km to PHC services is
recommended in order to reduce
the risk of mortality maternal and
infant mortality incident.
Jankasa village, a community
bordering Chikun and Kajuru
Local Government areas of
Kaduna State is one of such
Nigerian communities without
a primary health care facility.
People in this community travel
15km to access health facility at
Kasuwan Magani. This might
even be a short distance compared
to other communities.
People in this area decried lack
of access to health care facility as
largely responsible for maternal
deaths recorded in the area.
According to the residents, “The
closest Primary health Care
(PHC) to our community is 15
kilometres away. Most of us here
don’t have cars. We only hire
motorcycles. You can imagine
taking a woman in labour on
a motorcycle to hospital 15
kilometres away.
“Just last year, we lost 2 women
who died during labour. We
don’t know how many we are
going to lose again. We believe if
the government can help us set
up a primary health care centre
here in our village, it will go a
long way to save our women
and children from dying,” said
youth leader of the village, Garba
Gajere. They lamented on the
deteriorating state of the only
road linking the community with
other communities.
“The road is too bad that
vehicles and motorcycles find it
very difficult to ply it, particularly
during rainy season. Apart from
the bad shape of the road bandits
too do terrorize passersby in
the night. This is why if we
are conveying a sick person to
hospital in the night we always
go in group. If not, the attackers
can block the road to rob the
people of their belongings,” he
There are other communities
such as Jankasa without health
care facilities. This has only
encouraged the people to stay
back at home to deliver their
babies. According to the youth
leader, the village has been in
existence for over 50 years and
had not enjoyed infrastructural
development, except a block
of classroom which the
government added to the ones
built by the community.
He however called on both the
local and state governments to
come to their rescue by building
a health facility in Jankasa as
they have vast land to offer for
the development of a clinic.
Deputy youth leader, Ezekiel
Garba who corroborated
what Gajere said, added that
activities of bandits in the area
had led them to form a vigilante
group to protect themselves
and their families.
He decried the absence of a
health centre saying “we need
assistance because we are in
dire need of health facility in
the village to save our wives”.
Sharing her experience, Mrs.
Rhoda Ezekiel, a mother of two
said she had three antenatal
clinic visits during her last
pregnancy at a hospital in
Kujama adding that she later
had to relocate to Kujama
where the hospital is prior to
her delivery.
However, a pregnant woman
in the community, Mrs. Tina
Iliya, told Nigerian Pilot, that
going to hospital for antenatal
is not attractive again adding
that she plans to deliver her
baby at home. “I don’t go for
antenatal because of distance; I
do not know my expectant date
of delivery, so I am just hoping
when it comes, I will deliver at
home,” She said.
The government of Kaduna
State says it plans to upgrade
one healthcare facility to a
comprehensive centre in each
political ward. But the situation
in Jankasa village and other
communities bring home the
fact that government need
to rise to its responsibility of
providing health care facilities
close to the people, and such
health facilities should be
manned by qualified personnel.
If this is done as a matter
of urgency, the number of
women who die as a result of
complications after delivery, as
well as infant mortality would
reduce drastically.