A group of women from Jigawa State have taken it upon themselves to provide facilities that will secure the lives of pregnant women and their unborn children. No, they did not build hospitals in their community. And yes, there was no hospital in their village. These women organised themselves, contributed money for months, and bought a car that will convey pregnant women to hospital when they enter labour.
According to BBC News (Pidgin) of 10 September, 2020, women of Bordo, a secluded village in Jigawa State, came together and bought a car, which will convey them to hospitals when labour commences. These women performed this feat because they always faced transportation problems when they needed to get to the nearest hospital in Jahun town, which is about 29km from Bordo. It was said that most of these Bordo women delivered their babies en route the hospital because they couldn’t get there on time. The report revealed that the bad state of the road that leads to the village and the fact that it is secluded hinder access to proper means of transportation into and out of the village.
In case you are wondering how these women were able to raise money to perform this great deed, the chief organiser and implementer of this feat, Malama Halima Adamu, revealed that every woman in the village was compelled to pay the sum of one thousand naira every month towards the project. When their contributions reached one million naira (N1 000 000), they used it to buy the car.
That is not all. The women have set out modalities for using the car. According to Malama Halima, any man, whose wife goes into labour, will have to pay the sum of two thousand naira (N2,000) in order to enjoy the services from the car. Out of this money paid, one thousand five hundred naira (N1,500) will be used for fuelling the car while the remaining five hundred naira (N500) will go into the purse of the association and be used for the car maintenance. However, the BBC did not state whether the women have a standby driver that will make sure they don’t get stranded when they enter labour because of lack of a capable driver.
Anyway, we have to say kudos to these women for thinking up and implementing this wonderful initiative. They realised the problems facing them and decided to take the bull by the horns. It must have been uneasy for them to pay this money but they went on to do it because it is for their own good. This is a lesson for us all: don’t wait for the government to solve your problems because they will not.
That’s by the way. The story of the Bordo women calls to mind the inadequacy of health facilities in our country. I was made to believe that Primary Health Centre (PHC) is supposed to exist in every village in this country. But from the look of things, most of these centres only exist on papers. But then, is there not supposed to be a supervisory body that goes round to supervise these centres and make sure they are functional? These centres, even the ones that exist only on paper, have nurses posted to them but they don’t go to work. These centres are also meant to give immunizations and handle children’s ailments, but they don’t do them even though drugs were allocated to them. It will then be appropriate if we ask questions on what happened to the drugs allotted to these non-functional centres. Honestly, a lot of things are wrong with our country.
I hope the Jigawa State government, the senator, the house of representative member, house of assembly member, local government chairman, councillor, ward leader, and all the people that claim to represent the people of Bordo and speak for them, should cover their faces in shame. Yes, they should be ashamed of themselves that in this 21st century, Bordo does not have even a PHC, where women can go to have their babies. They should be ashamed of themselves because they always show beautiful pictures of projects they do while people continue to suffer. They should be ashamed of themselves because it would have cost them nothing if they dipped their hand into the money they claimed for their citizens to provide a good means of transportation for them. Now, the whole world has heard about a village in Nigeria, where women have to contribute money to buy a car so that they can stop giving birth on the road to hospital.
I say another big kudos to these women. Since they have provided themselves with means of transportation during child delivery, they should consider providing another means of transportation for other activities that will take them out of their village so that commercial activities can thrive there. Maybe the men will do it this time.
However, the achievement of the women of Bordo has called us to action. It has made us understand that we should provide facilities that will alleviate our sufferings. If every village in this country can come together, the way Bordo women did, to set up poverty alleviation programmes for themselves, it won’t be long before poverty becomes a thing of the past in our country.