In Nigeria, mobile medical teams save lives in hard-to-reach communities

The EU-funded Newborn, Child Health and Nutrition Project outreach team provides health services to pregnant women and children in hard-to-reach communities

Dr Ahmad Luqman, Bauchi State lead, Hard-to-reach MNCH team
Delivering healthcare in hard-to-reach communities
UNICEF Nigeria/2019/Ahmad
18 October 2020

Before she attended an ante-natal clinic, Safiya Mustapha had had four pregnancies which all resulted in still births.

The 34-year-old’s home settlement of Wuron Daba community, Toro LGA in Bauchi State, is classified hard-to-reach (HTR), which means it is located at least five kilometres away from a Primary Health Care (PHC) facility and lacks social amenities like access roads, clean water, schools and electricity.  Often, HTR communities also have rough terrain that can make hospital visits even more difficult.

Fortunately for Safiya, the EU-funded Newborn, Child Health and Nutrition (MNCHN) Project outreach team, which provides health services to pregnant women and children in hard-to-reach communities, visited  her community, and Safiya attended ante-natal clinic for the first time.

“On examination, we found that Safiya had anaemia and the accompanying clinical manifestations that come with it: pale eyes; her palms were white and her lips dry,” said Dr. Luqman Ahmad, Bauchi State lead of the HTR team.

According to Dr. Luqman, the HTR team  gave Safiya hematinic and also advised her on an appropriate protein diet. The treatment greatly improved Safiya’s condition.

On the HTR team’s next visit to Wuron Daba, members arrived as Safiya was in the second stage of labour. With the team’s assistance Safiya delivered a live, healthy child with no complications.

“I’m excited to have a baby at last,” says Safiya. I’m grateful to the HTR team which assisted me. I’ll take their advice and ensure that from now on, I’ll attend ante-natal clinic when pregnant. I’ll also tell other women in Wuron Daba community the importance of doing so.”

The MNCHN project has now been implemented in Adamawa, Bauchi and Kebbi States, and the HTR strategy serves underserved communities in 12 LGAs in Adamawa and 9 LGAs in Bauchi.

The HTR strategy in particular has significantly contributed to the reduction in maternal and child morbidity in these communities, as data shows that 160,840 children from 1,039 hard-to-reach settlements in Adamawa and Bauchi states have been reached through the project.

For new mothers like Safiya, the project has been life-changing, to say the least.