NGO constructs sick bay in Abuja

Adoba Echono, Abuja

A Non-governmental Organisation, Latiwa Projects in collaboration with German Embassy in Nigeria has constructed a sick bay for the Vine Heritage Home located in Kuje, a suburb close to Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory.

The Head of the NGO, Latiwa Projects Mrs. Cathy Amato and the Deputy Head of Mission of the Republic of Germany Regina Hess during the formal presentation of the project to the home pledged their commitment to collaborate more to improve the lives of the less privileged in the society.

The founder of Latiwa Projects, Cathy Amato explained, “We are here to visit the children and see our work and the renovation we have done for the babies’ room.”

Mrs Amato explained, that “after visiting the Home, we were touched by the living conditions of the babies.

There were 23 babies in a small room, no air, we felt very bad and were thinking we ought to do something. We had a fundraising event, got some money and invited the German embassy to help.Through this we were able to renovate two baby rooms and one medical room. We built storage so that they can better organise themselves, she said.

According to Mrs. Amato, Latiwa Projects working with the German Embassy and friends donated a storage house and renovated parts of the Vine Heritage Home, a shelter for twins, albinos and other neglected children at risk of death due to negative cultural beliefs and renovated some buildings and built a sick bay for the home with the assistance of the German embassy.

“We also plan to bring paediatricians to examine the children and attend to those that needed medical attention”, she stated.

On her part, the Deputy Head of Mission of the Republic of Germany Regina Hess, called for more education and sensitisation of the residents of the area and called on the government to provide more infrastructures for the people.

She said, the people must enlighten the communities on the need shun cultural practices that were dehumanizing and affect the rights of a child to live.

“We helped in refurbishing two rooms and in building storage, in order for the rooms to be spacious, and the babies can live in better conditions.”

Maternal Healthcare
Hess said, the embassy would try to improve on maternal healthcare so that the babies are not blamed and then killed for their mother’s death.

“This is a long procedure, but we can try and help with the health situation in the area so that the young mothers don’t die, and there will be no reason to kill the children.”

The Missionaries running the Vine Heritage Home said they have rescued no less than 103 infants, including sets of twins and albinos from 55 communities practicing infanticide.

The youngest of the children are a set of twins, David and Davida, and another female infant, Angelica, whose mother died during child birth.

According to the Christian missionary couple who started the Rescue Home, Mr. Olusola and Mrs. Chinwe Stevens, the home was established in 2004.

He stated that the oldest child among the rescued infants is Ruth, now 20 years old and attending a secondary school in the area.

Mr. Olusola attributed the high maternal mortality in the area to lack of access to hospitals, noting that the women often gave birth at home and died when complications arose.

“Majority of the children in the home lost their mothers at childbirth”, Mr. Olusola explained.

On how he had been catering for the hordes of children, Mr. Olusola said that he had been relying on financial and material supports from his friends and other partners.

The media aide to the FCT Minister, Abubakar Sani said the FCT Administration is aware of the practice, noting that sensitisation was being carried out in the communities.

“The Administration is not happy about such cultural practice and we have been carrying out sensitization programmes to educate and enlighten the people in the communities.”

We are also building clinics to make healthcare accessible to the people in order to reduce maternal and neo-natal mortality,” he stated.