(The road and perimeter fence that separates Rido and KRPC)
Rido is a community in Chikun local government area of Kaduna State and one of the five immediate host communities of Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company (KRPC). The other four communities are Kidunu, Juji, Kapam and Mahuta.
Unlike host communities such as these in other terrain where water creates a distance between the oil company and the communities, Rido is so close to KRPC that only a perimeter fence separate them from each other thereby making it the refinery’s activities destination.
But, there is little or nothing to show that these people, who are living in this low income setting are sitting beneath goldmine apart from hazardous chemicals emanating from the refinery and their health status threaten especially as it affect the children and their reproductive age women.
Recently, a visit to the community revealed that, apart from the hazardous pollution the people have learned to cope with, the only access road to this community is nothing to write home about. This development, the mothers say has led to numerous miscarriages and permanent barrenness of some unlucky ones resulting from falling-off moving commercial motorcycles.
Apart from this reproductive health challenge these women are managing to cope with, their suffer nasal irregularities while the economic activities in the community has been grounded due to bad road network which is less than four kilometers from the perimeter fence of KRPC.
Now, there is a Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) just at the entrance of Rido community. But the facility can only be accessed in the day time. This is because the few staff in the facility do not spend night here because there was no provision for such.
What this means to the reproductive age women in this place is that, any child labour that occurs at night will be at the mercy of traditional birth attendants (TBAs)or such woman would have to be conveyed to other facility in Kaduna town or Kujama on motorcycle while some fell-off during compulsory deadly ‘voyages’ if they wants to be delivered of their babies by skilled birth attendants. So, there is concentration of essential healthcare service providers in urban facilities due to many reasons which is topic for another day.
The people tell their story:
A traditional leader, Madakin Rido, Malam Musa Suleiman said, “two years ago, any time from six o clock in the evening, if a woman is in labour we have to look for a way to go to town for delivery or risk the consequence.
“Now we have a primary health center even though not fully operational, the person in charge of the facility has trained 18 traditional birth attendants to assist our women when she is not around which is quite commendable.”
”Whenever it rains, motorists find it difficult to get to the community because of the condition of the road. People mostly trek through the 45 minutes journey rather than risk using vehicles or motorcycle which will fling you up and down.
“Commercial activities have dwindled because of the deplorable road. People now detest coming here to buy things from traders, even landlords are no longer finding things easy because people are not coming to rent houses here anymore,” Suleiman stressed.
One of the women here, Amina Musa, a mother of two and food vendor inside the refinery shared her bitter experience with this correspondent on how she lost her twins to miscarriage few months to delivery due to the bad state of the road.
She said, “when a woman is in labour at night, we have to look for a way to take her to town for delivery because the PHC here does not operate at night. And if your family or friend is not mobile, you have to request for the services of ‘achaba’ (motorcycle) riders.
”I am a food vendor at refinery. I ply this bad road daily on motorcycle because this is where I earn my living. I had miscarriage before now and I got pregnant again which was four months twins and I lost them due to the bad road.”
Also sharing her experience, Alheri Obadiah, a mother of three who claimed to have had three miscarriages said, she almost lost her life after she had miscarriage of a six months old pregnancy.
“Hmm! Women here are going through a lot in the process of giving life. I almost lost my life during one of the miscarriages I had. That was the one that was already six months old that time. It was just God that saved me.”
Giving insight into this miscarriage saga in Rido community, a TBA and religious teacher, Juwairiyya Abubakar, acknowledged the challenge faced by women in the community saying, the data could not be quantified because many of the women keep their experience secrete.
“So far we are grateful that in spite of the bad road, cases of maternal and under five deaths have dropped drastically because we always encourage them to attend antenatal, immunisation and child spacing services so they can be alive to take care if their children and family.
”Between 2017 and 2018, we have lost two women, but no child died. We only had cases of convulsion, typhoid and malaria in children due to polluted water and bad weather resulting from the activities of the KRPC.
”We also discourage early marriages, dropping out of school and hawking. And we are making progress,” she added.
Professional gave different views
A Senior Gynecologist in department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Shika, Kaduna State Northwest Nigeria who preferred anonymity frown at falling with pregnancy describing it as “deadly”.
According to her, “it is dangerous for any woman to fall unconsciously with pregnancy let alone of the ones that happened while on bike or vehicle.
“What happened is that, during such occurrence, the placenta may be forcefully disengaged from the foetus and caused irredeemable disengagement between the mother and her baby. So, the placenta may forced its way to the woman’s virginal and that may lead to her death.
“Driving or riding on pumpy roads on it own does not pose any danger to foetus because there is a way it will just bounce due to a kind of absorber nature has pit in a woman.
“However, there are other causal agents responsible for miscarriages in women though I may not remember all of them now. the commonest cause of early miscarriages is genetic defects, infection, medical conditions in mother such as diabetes or thyroid disease, hormone problems.
“That is why it is very important for prospective mothers to get themselves well examined before conceive. This is important because by the time some disease will be manifesting after conception, it might be difficult to adequately treated and that may lead to serious complication around childbirth where either the baby or the mother or in quite unfortunate situation, both may die.
“The way forward is to have staff quarters for skilled birth attendants within the facilities so they are readily available because childbirth can take place any time. If possible, we have a lot of trained TBAs around whom government can employ since they are within the communities”, she said.
SOLA OJO SENT IN THIS REPORT.