By Akpeji Charles
For the much desired dreams of eradicating polio as well as strengthening the Primary Health Care in Taraba State to achieve its aims of reaching out to the people domiciling in the Hard-To-Reach (HTR) areas of the state, media practitioners must rise up to the challenges of creating awareness for the public.
This were the words of the entire resource persons whom yesterday engage media practitioners on a two day sensitization meeting in Zing Local Government Council of the State.
Organized by the State Primary Health Care Development Agency (TSHCDA) in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the facilitators noted that apart from working tirelessly round the clock to halt polio from resurrecting its ugly head in the state, relevant paths are as well being toil to attend to women of child bearing age in the HTR.
Speaking, the HTR focal person, Joyce Madanga, said the sensitization meeting is geared toward equipping the media with the requisite knowledge of the activities of health work assigned with the responsibilities of taking the much needed medications to the HTR.
According to her the essence of this workshop is to make the “HTR project more accessible to the public by creating demand for the services rendered in the settlements by media engagement.”
Stressing the need for the media to assist in creating awareness and create demand for services rendered, the need to as well discuss the success of the HTR project in the state she believed can no longer be overemphasized.
On their own parts, the various clusters persons who includes the coordinator of the Northern zone HTR Dr. Nshe M. David, the coordinator HTR-MNCH, Dr. Onuche Oliver Igoche, the coordinator HTR-MNCH central zone of the state, Dr. Alheri M. Bulus and the implementation officer, Natonal Stop Transmission of Polio (NSTOP) Itse Olaoye, were of the opinion that the involvement of journalists in the project would go along way to assisting the rural communities.
Apart from their dreams to eradicate polio in the state, health education on Key HouseHold Practices (KHHP) such as Exclusive Breastfeeding, Complementary feeding, Education and counselling clients on importance of Hand washing, Preparation of ORT, Nutrition to mention just a few are said to be some of the service being rendered to people in the HTR.
Pleading with journalists to use the various platforms to herald the presence of the HTR persons to embrace the project, the HTR- Maternal Neonatal Child and Health staff as made known by the resource person “offer free immunization, treatment of childhood killer diseases, antenatal care, treatment of women of child bearing age free of charge in all HTR.”
Enumerating the numerous successes so far achieved in some of the HTR visited,
insecurity, bad terrain, vaccine in availability, refusal of injectable vaccines due to pain in the children, reluctance to go on referral by community members, among others are the challenges the experts claimed are presently threatening the project.
Participants whom along side with the health workers and cluster persons as well as partners visited one of the HTR unanimously agreed to contribute their quotas by using their platforms to create public awareness.
The project which is presently being executed in the high risk polio states in the northern parts of the country is been funded by the Canadian government through the UNICEF.