In northern Nigeria, volunteer drivers save children’s lives
Thanks to support from the EU, there is now a corps of 900 trained volunteer drivers transporting children who need urgent medical attention to hospitals in Kebbi State
When two-month-old Balkisu Aliyu got very ill and needed to be rushed to a clinic, her mother Baliratu didn’t know what to do. The health clinic is located about ten kilometres away from her home in Kebbi State, northern Nigeria, and she had no means of transport.
Then Baliratu remembered she had heard about volunteer drivers and quickly contacted her nearest clinic, the Dumbegu Primary Healthcare Centre, to see if they could help. A driver soon arrived and transported the sick Balkisu and her mother to the clinic.
Balkisu arrives at the Dumbegu clinic very ill. Her mother rushes to hand her over to the health workers to check what is wrong.
Mustapha Jega, a healthcare worker at the Dumbegu Primary Healthcare Centre, suspects it could be malaria, but needs to conduct a test to be sure. Mustapha appreciates the role of the volunteer drivers. “They have helped save the lives of scores of children by transporting them here, sometimes in the nick of time,” he says.
Balkisu undergoes a malaria test at the clinic’s laboratory, with equipment supplied by the European Union. The test is positive for malaria.
Balkisu’s mother winces as the little girl receives the first jab of an injection that will treat her malaria. Thanks to EU support, there is now a corps of 900 trained volunteer drivers transporting children like Balkisu who need urgent medical attention to hospitals in Kebbi State.
Thanks to the volunteer drivers, more pregnant women and children in emergency health situations can get to hospitals quicker. In the fourth year of the EU- supported project in Kebbi State, volunteer drivers have transported some 1,617 pregnant women and sick children to referral health centers.