By CrossRiverWatch admin
There was palpable excitement and surging crowds thronging the venue of the arrival of the Director General of the Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency, DG CRSPHCDA, Dr. Betta Edu and her team at Wanihem, a boundary village in, Ukele North, Yala LGA in northern Cross River State.
The visit was to distribute free mosquito treated bed nets to the village which residents say has been long abandoned by government at all levels.
The villagers who could not hold back their excitement came out in their numbers, male and female, young and old; and from the little they had, they also donated drinks and a live goat as well as food items including yams and groundnut for the young DG who they eulogised passionately for having the tenacity to visit their ‘forgotten village.’
Dr. Betta Edu, who also could not restrain her tears as the villagers showered her with praises, later wrote on her Facebook timeline:
“But honestly the Wanihem experience got tears rolling down my face freely! Death of men, women, and children have become so common place that when I asked what they wanted the Governor to do for them, they said he should build them MORTUARY!
“My Friend Miss Akpala saw me shed tears at the IDP camp in Bakassi and these were her words “Betta save your tears till you see my people in WANIHEM, we basically have nothing. My people only get on the news when there is a communal clash with the people of Benue” My reply was “com’on sis, it can’t get worse than Bakassi”
“I travelled for 15 hours (both ways) to get to the last village in CRS. While on the bad narrow road leading to the village, I thought to myself “do people really live here? What kind of water do they drink? How do they get health care? Who treats their children? If a woman experience complications during delivery where will help come from? Will she not die on the way before she gets to the nearest general hospital 3hrs away? These were my thoughts till the sound of people in their numbers running after the car brought me back to the sad reality in front of me.
“Men, women, children, young, old came out in their numbers to welcome me with smiles on their faces and open hands, we sang their native songs, danced and exchanged pleasantries before I sat down to listen to those stories that stirred up the tears I was trying to suppress.
“I was told of the women who die during child birth due to complications and lack of health workers or equipment to manage cases. With every outbreak of diarrhoea the number of children that died was alarming. Honestly, what I saw was poverty, poverty and deep poverty. Death was common place in the community such that when I asked what do you want the governor and his wife to do for you…the answer was “build us mortuary” my heart melted…what the hell were these people asking for! But maybe that was what they wanted.
“I had a heart to heart discussion informing them of what the truly needed…a functional PHC, health workers, an ambulance, health talk on how to prevent and manage common diseases in the community. How we can stop open defecation and simple ways to avoid malnutrition in our children.
“From the village square to the market center, it was an experience that has made me vow to give everything I have to ensure that the people of that Ward which is the 2nd largest ward in Cross River state receive the health care they deserve.”