How we were nearly mobbed in Kano community during our outreach- PeachAid director
In this interview with Aljazirahnews, NkasiObim Nebo, head of the PeachAid Medical Initiative speaks on its numerous projects aimed at bringing succour to pregnant women and children in abandoned communities across the nation. Excerpts-
Interview by- Tosin Omoniyi, Amina Isah
What is PeachAid Medical Initiatives all about?
It is a community based humanitarian organization. We work towards helping to reduce the incidence of infant and maternal mortality rate in Nigeria which is actually high. We teach the women especially to identify the dangers during pregnancy and we try to give them a clean birth environment, especially for those who give birth at home. We work with traditional birth attendants we see in our communities and we also advocate that women use skilled birth attendants found in primary healthcare facilities instead of the traditional birth attendants.
They are so many establishments targeting these issues, what makes PeachAid different?
A lot of people are into it because of the high rate of deaths so they can bring some form of solution. UNICEF carried out a recent research where it was discovered that over 2 million children are being born yearly in Nigeria. That’s about 11 thousand children born every day. The death rate is about 228 a day which is one of the highest in the world. I know a lot of NGOs and international bodies that are involved in this health issues but we all are in it to see how we can complement what the government is doing.
What are the challenges you face?
Basically, we started working from the Northeast before we moved to other parts. So far the challenges come in form of tradition, especially when you go to a community where they deliver at home instead of accessing the primary healthcare facilities. They don’t believe in contraceptives, so the women are unable to space their children. In some communities, you see the men trying to attack you. We were in a community in Kano where we went there to do a family planning program. All the women we were attending to suddenly disappeared. We saw like a hundred men coming to attack us, they said we were there to corrupt their women. The community head had to tell us to leave but we realized the women really needed our help so we had to meet the community head again and asked if we could do other programs for men like First Aid. We eventually gave them some contraceptives and mosquito nets, so we could gain access to speak to their women.
Do you think the government is doing enough in this aspect?
Well, I can’t say much about the government.
Do you think people complement your effort, like in some communities you have visited?
Not really. For instance, the community we visited today, their leaders wanted us to pay them first, the community counsel and chiefs wanted us to give them money and also pay for the chairs, canopy, the town crier and every other thing, knowing well that we were bringing in something good for them. They aren’t cooperating so well, even though in some communities they are receptive. But in most of the communities, they expect us to ‘wet the ground’ before we are able to do anything.
PeachAid as an institution, where do you see this organisation in five years to come or what future initiatives are you embarking on?
I am not going to say we look forward to being big or small or remain the way we are. I will say we look forward to really be in this system that helps save lives of mothers and children. But wherever it takes us to in the future, we will go there and I look forward to PeachAid being the employers of labourers because we need people on the field.
Whats your take on the level of acceptance of NGOs in Nigeria?
In Nigeria, people don’t really trust NGOs because they feel the people are there just to make money for themselves. I want to encourage people out there, to go out of their ways to trust them because even in the misdt of the bad ones, there are still good ones. Most of the projects we do, we fund it ourselves. Most of the workers we have now are volunteers. We can’t afford to keep full-time staff because we can’t pay them. I do what I do out of passion because I lost two of my siblings due to these complications between mother and child. We need people’s help in kind.
How do people reach you?
They can write to us through the admin email: email@example.com and also call us on this phone number 08099302053.