Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Transaid: Emergency Transport in Northern Nigeria

Transaid is an international development organisation that seeks to reduce poverty and improve lives in Africa through creating better transport. Here is a partnership transport project they are working on in Northern Nigeria.
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Transaid has been working as part of the PRRINN project in Northern Nigeria to help improve immunisation coverage for women and children in the states of Yobe, Jigawa, Katsina and Zamfara.

Transaid’s role has been to advise on appropriate management of the Ministry of Health’s transport to ensure adequate healthcare reaches those most in need. This project has now been expanded in three of the four states to cover all primary healthcare for mother’s, newborn babies and children (MNCH) extending the reach and impact of Transaid’s vital work.

The Problem
In this part of Northern Nigeria, less than 6% of children are fully immunised against life-threatening diseases and rates of newborn, maternal and child mortality are some of the highest in the world. Over 500,000 women die in pregnancy every year. A woman in sub-saharan Africa has a 1 in 13 chance of dying in pregnancy or childbirth, compared to a 1 in 4,000 risk in the industrialised world*.

The millennium development goals which have been put in place to reduce extreme poverty aim to reduce child mortality by two thirds, maternal mortality by three quarters and to achieve universal access to reproductive health by 2015. Efficient and effective transport has a key role to play in the delivery of health services and is a vital link to enabling these goals to be realised.
*Statistic taken from 'Maternal Mortality: Africa's Burden. A Toolkit on Gender, Transport and Maternal Mortality', vs4-04-2005

The Process
Transaid is providing technical assistance in relation to the transport elements of the project. Through the initial PRRINN project we have already begun to implement a transport management system to help improve health service delivery. We are also working with project partners and the government at state level to establish solutions to the problem of accessing health facilities in emergency pregnancy cases.

Plans are being developed for an emergency transport system to be put in place using members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers NURTW) to take patients for a small fee. This has already proven to be successful following a pilot in Jigawa state. We are also looking at the viability of other low-cost modes of transport such as the motorcycle and bicycle ambulance to improve access to emergency healthcare in hard to reach areas.

The PRRINN-MNCH consortium led by Health Partners International, Save the Children and Grid Consulting, the State Ministry of Health in Katsina, Yobe and Zamfara. (Jigawa state is not included in the MNCH project)

The Results
The overall aims of the whole project are to improve antenatal care for women and the number of births attended by skilled medical personnel. The project also aims to increase immunisation levels so that 60% of children under one year old are fully immunised by 2012, decreasing the number of cases of life-threatening illnesses such as measles. It is hoped that health centres will serve 50% more women and children through better functioning and rehabilitated systems (including transport). The increase in trained staff at health centres and hospitals will also ensure greater accountability and responsiveness to patients and a more joined up approach to management at all levels.

The new PRRINN-MNCH project will improve the quality and availability of all maternal and child health services including antenatal and postnatal care, safer deliveries, care for newborn and young children, better nutrition and increased routine immunisation. Using Transaid’s transport management system vehicles will also be better managed and scheduled, increasing vehicle availability for emergency pregnancy transfers.


(If you want to know more about Transaid’s work in Nigeria please follow this link: http://www.transaid.org/projects/nigeria,-increasing-access-to-healthcare-for-mothers-and-children,-prrinn---mnch-update-%E2%80%93-april-2009

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