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Activists lament inadequate facility to store donated blood

Super activists on maternal and child health in Bauchi state have lamented that inadequate blood banks and power backup to preserve blood gotten from donors. They said this has been a major challenge to the prevention of child and maternal death in the state. The Secretary of the Activists group in Northern Senatorial Zone of Bauchi State, Mallam Sani Ahmad stated this during the last Quarterly Review Meeting, 2018 of the Bauchi State Accountability Mechanism (BASAM) been supported by Evidence for Action (E4A) to review ‎its activities recently in the state. Ahmad who said as a result of the advocacy activity of AKMC‎ people have become aware and always willing to donate blood in order to save the lives of mothers and newborns, regretting that inadequate facilities have been the major challenges. Other challenges according to Ahmad, include testing kits, cost of blood bags as patients cannot afford to buy blood, lack of incentives to blood donors and consistent electricity supply. He said 35 communities have been sensitized on the importance of donating blood, ante-natal care, child delivery in the hospital by expectant mothers as well as routine immunisation which he said has yielded the desired result and has increased demand for health care services at various primary health care centres across the state. The Activist explained that 5,000 ‎between the ages of 18 and 50 have voluntarily donated their blood from 2015 to date with the aim of saving the lives of children under the age of five and women during antenatal and postnatal periods. Ahmad who informed that regular blood donors can even make their donations ‎at the age of 65 years which most people don’t know said, “We also have women donors, so far, five of them have donated blood this year”. The Super Activist maintained that, based on the aggressive awareness with the support of Evidence for Action (E4A), more than 500 women delivered successfully at the Primary Health care centres at Urban Maternity and General Hospital Azare this year alone. While pointing out that most of the deaths recorded during the year ‎under review were as a result of anaemia, Comrade Ahmad revealed that “most of the women deliver at home but after losing much blood that is when they would be taken to Hospital for postnatal care and that is one of the we are facing with some of our communities “. On the issue of immunisation, the Super Activist said not fewer than 1006 ‎children have been fully vaccinated at the urban maternity Azare while 34 were not fully vaccinated due to unknown reasons. Ahmad who said that there is growing demand for blood banks in various communities in the three senatorial zones in the state also called on Government to employ more health workers in order to ease and fasten health care delivery in the state. ‎In his remark, the Bauchi State Coordinator of Evidence For Action (E4A), Mr Gideon Poki revealed that out of 100 thousand births in Nigeria, 576 women dies, adding that the country has the fourth highest maternal mortality‎ ratio in Africa. According to him, “what’s more, a quarter of women don’t have access to the contraception they need. The Coordinator explained that the federal ministry of Health has set up a task force to speed up the reduction of maternal ‎deaths in the country, adding that “it has also set a new target to increase funding for family planning services from US $3million to US $4million, from 2018. Reproductive, maternal, Newborn, child and adolescent health is at the forefront of National and state health development plans. It is the focus of health investments into Nigeria, including those made through the global financing facility. Poki said, “We are actively involved in federal and state ministries’ initiatives. At state level, we help bring together the government, media and the civil society to form State-Led‎ Accountability Mechanisms (SLAMs). These are helping to improve governance and spending on reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health “. Also speaking on the issue of Maternal and Child Health, the Chairman of Advocacy Knowledge Management Committee (AKMC), Comrade Ladan Dalhatu said that there is need for additional functional blood banks to be spread across Bauchi state so as to save lives of mothers and their babies. Samuel Luka, Bauchi

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