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    Wednesday, April 17, 2024

    A Journey Towards Universal Health Coverage in Jigawa State

    In the heart of the remote Andaza community in Jigawa State, northwest Nigeria, unfolds the remarkable narrative of Adama Haruna, whose journey stands as an emblem of the profound impact of enhanced healthcare services.

    Formerly ensnared by the harsh realities of inadequate medical assistance, Adama, alongside her fellow residents, now embraces a beacon of solace and optimism. This transformation is a result of the rejuvenated health facility and the unwavering commitment of skilled healthcare professionals.

    Previously, accessing top-tier healthcare, especially concerning maternal and child care services, has been fraught with challenges. Adama, seven months pregnant, vividly recalls the anxiety she experienced during her first pregnancy with Abudullahi in 2019. Back then, the healthcare facility lacked the resources necessary to provide adequate maternal care, casting a shadow of uncertainty over expectant mothers like her.

    However, a remarkable shift occurred when GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, in collaboration with the state government, spearheaded a comprehensive upgrade of the primary healthcare facility in the community. Bolstered by the unwavering support of the World Health Organization, health workers underwent periodic intensive training programs and professional development initiatives, equipping them with the skills and expertise essential for delivering superior care.

    Adama's apprehension transformed into confidence as she expressed her intention to give birth at the revitalized centre, a sentiment echoed by many women in her community who now have positive stories to share about their birthing experiences.

    “I now have confidence in giving birth at the health facility. They now have drugs and our children have access to their immunization services. We are grateful for the improvement because it has made it easier for us to access health services, she stated. 

    Gone are the days of endless worries and sleepless nights; residents of Andaza community now have seamless access to essential health services, including immunization programs, regular check-ups, ante-natal and family planning services, and essential medications.

    Rabiu Garba, the traditional head of Andaza, acknowledges the transformation, noting a significant reduction in maternal and infant mortality since the upgrade.

    “We are no longer losing our wives, daughters or children during childbirth. We are grateful to those who rendered the support”, he said  

    Empowered by enhanced skills and confidence, Nurse Antibas Alheri, attests to the increased success rates in maternal services and live births. 

    “Since the upgrade of the health facility, we have more residents, especially expecting mother come to the facility for antenatal services and child delivery. In the past one year, we have had over 1,000 live births and less still birth. With the training we got, we ae equipped to handle complicated births, she explained. 

    The once modest healthcare centre now boasts a fully equipped labour room, laboratory, pharmacy, and wards, staffed with proficient professionals operating round the clock.

    “The revitalization of the PHC stands as a testament to the concerted efforts of the Nigerian government and its partners, epitomizing their commitment to expanding healthcare infrastructure and strengthening health systems to address present and future challenges effectively. Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, the WHO Representative in Nigeria.

    He said this aptly underscores the significance of the 2024 World Health Day theme, "My health, my right."

    Central to this endeavour is the overarching goal of Universal Health Coverage, ensuring that every individual, regardless of their geographical location, enjoys access to quality healthcare without facing financial hardships. 

    Through strategic partnerships, WHO leverages its role as a leading international public health agency to facilitate the development and implementation of policies and programs aligned with the core principles of UHC, thus advancing the global health agenda and promoting the fundamental right to health for all. 

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