About eighty percent of Nigerian population lives in the rural areas because of the agrarian nature of our set up. Industrialization and modern amenities force rural urban migration. The few cities that have opened up to these are being overstretched because of limited infrastructure and high cost of living. Moreover, the rural areas that accommodate the greatest proportion of the population suffer several handicaps such as clean water, medical care, electricity and good roads. Provision of these should attenuate the urge by the youth to migrate to the overcrowded cities. Their stay in the rural areas with the existence of basic amenities shall ensure economic and social growth, and thus subsequent overall development.
On assumption of office Governor Wamakko introduced Free Medical Care for pregnant women and children less than five years. The programme tagged FREMCARE ensures free drug, treatment and monitoring for this group, vulnerable bracket. It is a programme that runs across the State and does not discriminate on any consideration. Its effectiveness and efficiency necessitated the launch of another programme on Saturday 30th May 2009 at Bissalam Village in Dange-Shuni Local Government by Governor Wamakko. Tagged RURAL MOBILE MEDIAL CARE (RUMCARE). The programme was designed to penetrate every nook and cranny of the State.
Under the programme health teams headed by medical doctors visit one community per week in each senatorial district of the 3 senatorial zones. The State Government purchased 30 mobile clinics and 16 ambulances, in addition to inherited ones, and procured drugs worth N350 million to facilitate the programme. It is estimated that at least 156 villages shall be covered in a year under the scheme.
It is conceived to achieve reduction in maternal mortality rate of 900/100,000 by 30% per annum; reduction in children under 5 years mortality rate of 25/1000 by 30% per annum; reduction of infant mortality of 80/1000 of 28 days by 30% per annum; reduction in household medical expenditure by 40% per annum; improvement of health status of school age children by 40% per annum; increase in availability and accessibility of essential obstetric skilled birth care by 20% per annum; increase in availability and accessibility of essential antenatal care services (4 doctor visits per pregnancy) by 20% per annum. And ultimately encourage pregnant mothers to go to the hospital or nearest clinics for delivery of their baby.
The programme has two major group targets: children and pregnant women, (though not exclusive of other groups that may report). For children, focus is on prevention, treatment and control of malaria, diarrhea, dysentery, measles, typhoid fever, tuberculosis etc. In pregnant women the focus is on clinical antenatal, postnatal, obstetric, gynaecology and emergency care services, pregnancy and delivery complications including hemorrhage, sepsis, blood pressure, anemia, malaria and unsafe abortion.
It is a programme that requires publicity so that the rural populace shall understand its content and avail them of every inherent benefit. The State Government appreciates active media intervention and involvement of civil society or community based/non-governmental organizations (NGOs), religious organizations and traditional rulers in sensitizing the people on this noble project. Government has intensified efforts to build, rehabilitate and equip rural health centres for effective co-ordination at grassroots level.
The programme, though being executed by PDP government in Sokoto State , transcends partisan politics as it borders on the health of the masses. It is imperative that citizens embrace it wholeheartedly that we may achieve sustainable health for the people. After all, diseases are not selective in attack. The scourges of HIV/AIDS and other killer diseases go beyond political party consideration.
Mohammed S. Umar is the President of Sokoto Liberal Media Democrat Foundation (SOLID), [email protected]
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