Journalism of Courage

Impassable roads: Bauchi locals  ferry expectant mothers, sick to hospitals on donkeys

 

By Kunle Akinsola

A Stone Age use of donkeys as means of transportation has resurfaced in Bauchi State in North Central Nigeria as communities in Misau Council area have resorted to commuting expectant mothers and sick people to hospitals on donkeys and ox-drawn trucks.

 

Reason: Impassable and deplorable roads abandoned by motorists.

 

Vehicles and motorcycles had abandoned the 15km to 20km stretch of the road leading to health facilities, thereby forcing the locals to settle for donkeys to take the sick and expectant mothers to the facilities.

 

The same means of transportation is also used to take the new born babies and their mothers back to their villages.

 

The Babuwuri and Ngummachame communities have been tagged ‘Hard-to-Reach’ by local health officials and the European Union and UNICEF, reports said,

 

Commenting on the dilapidated state of the roads which successive governments have failed to repair, the heads of the communities, Malam Magaji Abdu and Alhaji Ahmadu Garba, said the roads were impassable by motorists.

 

They said donkeys and ox-drawn trucks were the only means of conveying pregnant women and the  sick to the health facilities.

 

“This is due to the hard-to-reach nature of our settlements, coupled with the lack of a good road network and the distance from health facilities.

 

“If a woman develops obstructed labour or any delivery complication and even the sick, we cannot use motorcycles to take them to the health facilities, the only option is donkey or ox-drawn trucks.

 

“This is done over a distance of 15km to 20km, depending on the location of the settlements and health facilities,” Abdu said.

 

He said in 2018, the EU/UNICEF introduced a health programme where medical teams visited the settlements once a month for ante-natal care for pregnant women and children below five years.

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