Niger State Ministry of Primary Healthcare, in collaboration with UNICEF, has trained about 1,605 people as community volunteers in the last week in Niger State as part of efforts to increase awareness among rural communities about routine immunisation and other primary healthcare-related health issues.
The training, which was organised for community volunteers comprising FOMWAN, the women wing of CAN, youth leaders, traditional birth attendants, and religious leaders, drew participants from about 10 LGAs of the state, with each local government presenting 160 participants from 10 wards across the beneficiary local government councils, except Gurara LGA, which has 165 persons.
The local government areas that participated in the training were Chanchaga, Bosso, Guara, Suleja, and Kontagora. Others were Mashegu, Gbako, Wushishi, Agwara, and Borgu.
Speaking at the end of the orientation, community engagement, and sensitization meeting at Gurara LGA, the centre of the training, the representative of UNICEF and the state ministry of primary healthcare, Bala Musa, from the National Orientation Agency (NOA), urged the people not to allow religious and cultural beliefs to deny them access to government health facilities because of some misconceptions, which he attributed to ignorance and a lack of knowledge regarding the implementation of government policies.
Musa, who is a Deputy Director with the NOA Niger State Office, said people should take the responsibility of their own health into their own hands by going to government-approved hospitals to seek medication, not minding the little cost of some items and a token amount for the services offered, saying government services were far better.
The representative who spoke further on the expectations of the participants, however, disclosed that they were expected to go back to their various wards and communities to educate and sensitise the people, right from their families, on the need for them to change their mindset and take on the challenges of their health by visiting government health facilities to access available services provided by the government, especially pregnant women who were discovered not to be completing the required four times of visits to the hospital for antenatal services.
Mr. Bala Musa said the essence of organising the training was to sensitise, educate, and mobilise community stakeholders so as to enable them to go back to their various communities after their training and showcase the lessons learned to their people on why pregnant women need to complete their antenatal visits and children who have received zero doses of immunisation will be reconnected back to the health facilities to complete their immunisation exercise.
Also speaking, the Director PHC of the local government, Idris Abdulkadir, said participants were drawn from 11 health wards of the council, adding that their participation in the orientation and community engagement meetings will go a long way towards strengthening the health facilities of the council.
He explained further that the trained community volunteers were being trained to assist the council in mobilising their various community members and enlightening them on the need to patronise many of the introduced healthcare services that were unknown to people in rural communities.
According to him, the council PHC services will receive full-blown patronage from the communities, and he appreciated UNICEF and the state ministry of primary healthcare for organising the training.
Following the removal of the erstwhile traditional ruler, a new Amana Kakanda Muye, Comrade Salihu Mohammed Muye, has been appointed and assumed duty, with a call to his subjects to maintain law and order for the overall development of the community.
Speaking in an interview with journalists in Minna at the weekend, Comrade Salihu Muye observed that the will of Allah and that of the people of Muye necessitated his emergence on the throne of his forefathers, calling on the people to join hands with him to move the community forward.
He noted that his emergence as the new traditional ruler of the ancient community was the will of Allah and appealed to the people of Muye to continue to respect the constituted authorities so as to encourage the speedy development of the community.
"All that is expected of me now is to ensure the peaceful co-existence of all and sundry and the entire people of Muye land and the Kakanda nation.
"I'm appealing to the good people of Muye, both at home and outside, to come on board to develop the community," he requested.
Comrade Salihu Mohammed Muye, until his appointment, was the Provost, Standard College of Nursing in Minna, and also one time State Chairman of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, Niger State Chapter.
The new Amana admonished the removed traditional ruler to accept the court decision against him with good faith, in the interest of the community, stressing that peace and unity among the people of Muye should be paramount to him.
He called on the youths in the area to shun any act that would be inimical to the generality of the community, urging them not to allow themselves to be used as agents of destruction.
He warned that the long arm of the constituted authorities would be visited on any troublemaker in the area.
Comrade Salihu Muye then called on the people to always be security conscious and report any suspicious movements in their midst to the appropriate security agencies for prompt action.