Tired of waiting for the government to provide a basic health facility for their community, over 400 disadvantaged women in Baddo community in Taura Local Government Area of Jigawa State have done what they considered the next best thing - taxed themselves to buy a vehicle they now use as an ambulance in their community.
The women clustered into 21 groups of 20 members each and contributed N1,000 each for two months to buy a vehicle for taking any of them in labour to the nearest health facility 31 kilometres away from their community.
The women made the contributions from the N5,000 they receive monthly from the federal government under the Conditional Cash Transfer scheme.
The scheme was designed by the Muhammadu Buhari administration to assist poor households with a monthly stipend of N5,000. The beneficiaries are also trained and assisted in setting up small business.
A leader of one of the clusters, Hanne Hassan, told PREMIUM TIMES that they bought the vehicle for conveying women in labour to the nearest comprehensive health facility in the area.
Mrs Hassan said the community is difficult to access due to its location, as a result of which there is often no vehicle coming in. It also has no health centre.
She said the situation mostly affects women in labour and those who have complications in their pregnancies.
"We have to go to neighbouring communities to get commercial vehicles to take us to hospitals. We used to rely on a vehicle donated by the state government under former Governor Sule Lamido but it is grounded following an accident," Mrs Hassan said.
"Since the vehicle was grounded, some women have died during labour, and many unborn babies also died due to delayed operations," she said.
Hanne Hassan one of the cluster leader amidst other contributors.
Mrs Hassan said the women in two months contributed about N900,000 while other community members donated N100,000.
She also said because the vehicle they bought is the only one in the community, other people with emergency sickness also use it to get to the health facility.
"Every household in the community can use the vehicle to convey their pregnant mother to the nearest health facility as far as the head of the household can fuel the car and settle the driver," she said.
She, however, lamented that despite the women's sacrifice to get the vehicle on the road and their other struggles, state government officials have not been sympathetic.
"Despite our efforts, highways officials normally stop the vehicle asking for particulars thinking that it is a commercial vehicle. This causes delay in conveying women in labour to the maternity, and has led to the death of one woman," Mrs Hassan said.
Source: Premium Times