By Francis Sardauna in Katsina
In a bid to tackle infant and maternal mortality in Nigeria, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) has said it has secured the admission of no fewer than 268 girls in Katsina State to study health related courses in different Health Training Institutions (HTIs) across the country.
The beneficiaries, according to DFID, were admitted under its Women for Health Programme (W4H) designed to avert shortage of female health workers in hard-to-reach rural areas of northern Nigeria.
The Chairman of W4H Working Group in Katsina State, Mr Suleiman Abdullahi Saulawa, who stated this Friday in Katsina during the presentation of support to the beneficiaries, said 107 girls have so far graduated from the institutions.
He said that the programme was established specifically to assist rural girls to acquire admission into HTIs to study health related courses.
According to him, “268 girls were admitted into various Health Training Institutions. 107 have so far graduated from the institutions. 52 have so far been employed by the Katsina State government, while the remaining 48 are awaiting employment.”
Saulawa explained that W4H, which started in 2013, is a five-year programme being implemented in five states of Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Yobe and Zamfara.
“The programme is also reducing infant and maternal mortality, which was prevalent in the region. As part of backstopping arrangement, the W4H agreed to provide another technical support for the working group for another two years, from 2017-2019, as part of the process for its gradual disengagement,” he added.
Earlier, the National Programme Manager, Dr Fatima Lamishi, said that the programme recruits young women from rural areas and help them to get professional training and return them to their community as qualified health workers.
Addressing the gathering, the Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, said nurses and midwives to be engaged by the state government must be ready to make the sacrifice of living and working in the remotest villages and communities.
He said: “Government is ready to continue to support the programme and engage its graduates but with a caveat that they should be ready to serve in villages and communities. These places are the most desirous in terms of health needs.”
The governor, however, assured the audience that the state government would continue to support the programme in order to save the lives of children and mothers in the state and the country at large.