Theirs is not the remotest of villages, but it might have been, for all the heartache and misery they encounter in their search for basic medical care. They are women who have known pain and death, and the helplessness of living so far from modern health facilities, which often caused them to lose their unborn babies on the way to hospital.
Welcome to Bordo village, in Taura local government of Jigawa state. Here, many women have sorrowful tales to tell about being in labour and not having an easy access to a nearby health centre. A pregnant woman’s greatest nightmare, in this town is falling into labour at night. This is because there isn’t a single car or any other motor vehicle in the village. They often had to be taken miles away to another village before a vehicle can be found to convey them to hospital.
In a BBC short video report, this well-hijabbed and very determined women spoke about how they decided to take their fate into their hands and end their misery.
Their spokesperson told the BBC Hausa service that the moment they began to benefit from the federal government government’s cash transfer to the less privileged, they started a fundraiser by contributing the sum of one thousand naira each time they were paid. They eventually raised enough to purchase a second hand vehicle with which they now conveniently convey themselves to hospital any time the need arises.
This is truly a laudable step taken by the women of Bordo village in Jigawa state. People often joke that local women only think of buying room decor and other such domestic stuff the moment they lay their hands on money. But here are forward-looking villagers who put their health and well being above any acts of vanity, by contributing their little stipend towards buying an improvised ambulance.
It’s noteworthy that the village men made no contribution to this project. They were probably not asked to nor did they offer it voluntarily. So it’s entirely the ladies’ undertaking. In other words, though they are the husbands and fathers, and those late night labours would never occur without their role in the whole episode, they carefully withheld their share of the government’s aid and let only their wives raise funds to buy the vehicle.
These are no doubt women of great determination of resourcefulness. They are modern amazons, a source of pride to their town, to Taura Local government and to Jigawa state as a whole.
Here’s hoping that the state government will rise to their aid, by building a hospital near them and by constructing rural feeder roads for their lone vehicle to ply on easily. It’s our hope that other villages with similar problems in Jigawa state will get the same kind of attention from the government, even before they make the great move made by the amazons of Bordo.