By; MOHAMMAD IBRAHIM, Kaduna.
Thirty Five year old housewife Tani (not real name) is five months pregnant with her fourth child. Tani, unlike other women in her village does attend ante-natal care at a Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) in Mararaban-Rido community which is about 20 minutes drive from her small village.
On the day of her appointment, she trekked to the roadside as early as 8 am with the hope of getting a Tipper truck to give her a ride to the Healthcare Centre in Mararaban Rido.
Tipper trucks are the only vehicles that pass through her village to a near bush to load sand. On their way, the Tipper drivers usually give people they saw waiting by the roadside a ride, including women and children from Tani’s small village to town. Which means if Tani becomes unlucky not to get any tipper to assist her, she will miss her appointment in the hospital for that day, week, month, since smaller vehicles don’t ply the road and her husband doesn’t have motorcycle to convey her to the hospital.
In fact, no commercial motorcycle operates within the route because they live in a remote village off the main road.
Welcome to Tani’s small village called “Kakura” located in Kujama ward of Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Kakura, a Gbagi dominated community has about a thousand households. The people there are subsistent farmers, just as the women equally assist in the farms.
The community is surrounded by Mararaban Rido, Kamazo and Danhono communities. Fulani and Adara speaking people are also found within the community. The community is known to be where tipper truck is the only means of transportation.
For Tani, after about an hour waiting by the roadside with no Tipper going her way, she decided to return home filling sad with the hope that she may be lucky another day. This was the kind of life pregnant women in Kakura community in Kaduna State North West Nigeria go through while trying to meet up their ante-natal appointments.
A Housewife, Alisabatu Auta a mother of six said because of the risk involve in boarding Tipper truck to town with pregnancy, made women like her to prefer given birth at home with all the risk.
“Imaging a five months or seven months pregnant woman hoping on a Tipper truck to go for ante-natal with nobody to assist her! It is because of the difficulties in climbing the Tipper truck that make women like me to prefer giving birth at home,” Alisibatu said
“I used to go for ante-natal but when it comes to delivering, I prefer given birth at home because it is not easy to climb Tipper while in labour. For me, I’m lucky, because I always give birth without difficulty and most times I give birth inside my room alone with nobody to assist me.
“Although the experience is scary but since we have no choice we just have to do it. There was a time I almost called for help because the baby refused to come out but it later came out peacefully,” she said.
Alisabatu said about 10 women have died within three years in the village during childbirth.
“We lost about 10 women in this village due to childbirth. We don’t have hospital within the village, we don’t have road, we don’t have vehicles in the village to convey us to hospital. We are just here on the mercy of God and those Tipper drivers who sometimes assist us in time of emergencies” she said.
Ladi Zakari a mother of five children said four of her children were born at home and one at the hospital.
“Four of my children were born at home without even the help of any nurse or traditional birth attendance. Only one was born at the hospital. You see it’s not easy for pregnant women to climb back of Truck while in labour.
“There was a time a pregnant woman fell from the truck while climbing and fractured her leg. We thank God nothing happened to the child in her womb. So the truth is we are not happy climbing tipper with pregnant,” she said.
Jummai Sunday a housewife too added that women in the village are finding it extremely difficult during childbirth.
“When a woman is in labour in the village, we do go on our knees and pray for her safe delivery. We use to pray for her safety against any complication. As you heard, we don’t have even traditional birth attendants in this village. We do everything ourselves,” she said.
With the increase in maternal death in the community, the women appealed to government and other agencies to come to their aid so as to safe the lives of women in the community.
Village Head of Kakura, Mr Ishaya Gwamna lamented the lack of health care facilities within the village despite their closeness to the city.
“If the government repairs our main road, it will be just about 15 minutes drive from Kakura to Mararabar Rido. But now it takes about 30 minutes to Mararabar Rido to get medical attention because the road is totally bad.
“The moment the rain comes, sometimes we spend days without going out of the village because the only bridge linking us with the city usually gets flooded. Only the tipper drivers get access to our village and sometimes they don’t even come since they are not from this area,” he said.
It was even gathered that even the tipper drivers avoid the road if and when it rains so as not to get stucked.
The Village head added that because of the bad road, their few children who enrolled in secondary school outside the village miss classes anytime the tipper trucks failed to show up in the village.
“This is really affecting our children, because many of them do missed their examination because no vehicles to convey them to the city. So we are pleading with government to please complete the road project so that our people can have easy access to city,” he said.
The team of Journalists who visited the village under the sponsorship of a Non Governmental Organization; Devcoms, among them our correspondent also gathered that the community lack access to, potable and clean water.
The people drink from a pond filled with dirts, particularly during the dry season.
“We do suffer a lot during dry season because all wells within the village get dried off. The only borehole provided to us by an NGO in year 2000 has stopped working. Now our women fetch water from well but as soon as the rain stop they move to the pond to fetch water,” said a community leader Sunday Kakura.
According to him, they are not happy drinking from a pond shared by people and cows.
“We have no choice but to drink from same pond because we just have to survive. But we need assistance from any individual to provide us with boreholes in the village. We are subsistent farmers and need government intervention in our village,” he said.
The village head Ishaya Gwamna also expressed sadness with regards to lack of portable water for his people.
“We voted during elections because politicians do come to seek for our votes. But they never fulfilled their promises to us.
“We are appealing to philanthropists, other agencies and even the government to provide us with primary health care centre where our women and children can access health care. We equally need drinking water in the community which is another big challenge to us” he pleaded.
(Investigation): Kaduna community where pregnant women board Tipper truck to attend ante-natal
By; MOHAMMAD IBRAHIM, Kaduna.