By Mary Jalingo


United Nations Children Funds (UNICEF) has been commended for its medical interventions in 850 hard to reach settlements across Niger State. 
 Mrs.  Dorcus Zakari from Pada community In Gurara Local Government Area of Niger State gave the commendation during a media tour of hard to reach projects covering 17 out of the 25 local government areas of the state. 
 Mrs. Dorcus Zakari said the project has save so many lives especially those of women and children adding that it wasn’t easy accessing health care services with the nearest PHC about 6kms from their settlement. 
 “I am a mother of six children and pregnant with the seveth , in all of these pregnancies,  apart from the third child I had at home , the rest were at the clinic which wasn’t easy as i had to be on bike for more than 40 minutes on a bad road in order to access antenatal services and to ensure I deliver in a health facility. 
 At Tunga Magaji, a fulani settlement in Shiroro Local Government Area,  the ward head,  Mallam Mohammed Isa expressed their appreciation noting that the medical  outreach to his community has given them the opportunity to access quality services for free. 
 Mallam Mohammed Isa said before now, getting to the nearest health facility which he said was about 7km and can only be on donkeys or motor bikes due to bad road. This he said was a problem that hindered them from accessing care. 
 He called on the state government to provide them with drinking water as their only source of water was drying up. He also appealed for primary school and feeder roads linking them with other communities. 
 Community leader in Kwati in Mashegu Local Government Area Mallam Habibu Usman said if not for the intervention by UNICEF, their children would have been denied the opportunity of immunization against childhood killer diseases. 
 Mallam Habibu Usman said due to the difficult terrain,  it was difficult even taking pregnant women to the nearest health facility and added that with UNICEF’s intervention, there was no negative report of women dying during child birth. 
 Speaking,  Mallam Mohammed Yakatu,  Cluster Coordinator UNICEF hard to reach project in the state said the project is about eradicating polio in the state but seeing the health challenges of such communities,  they had to intervene.
 Mallam Mohammed Yakatu said the hard to reach communities were under served noting that if such communities can have access to match stick and salt,  there was no reason while healthcare services can not get to such communities.
 He said the hard to reach team was made up of 5 members headed by a trained nurse midwife to provide services such as Immunization and vaccine preventable diseases especially for under 5 children. 
 He called on the state government to make effort at sustaining the project which he said would expire by December 2018.