Vaccine Network programs work under continuously changing weather conditions. As a result, We help our communities build sustainable programs that work effectively for the community.
Borehole in Damangaza
At Vaccine Network for Disease, we use unusual strategies to penetrate areas that are difficult and ignorant about immunization. We persist till something happens! And we keep going!
We discovered the village of Angwan Hausa Damangaza; a Hausa-Fulani settlement located at Garki ward of the Abuja Municipal Area Council in 2011. The settlement was referred to us by a policeman and a woman selling banana in front of Games Village, Abuja. They did not understand the essence of immunization at that time and ironically they have over 1000 children in the settlement with over 500 of them 5yrs and below! Based on our unusual methods, we used Fashion as a tool to penetrate and gain their trust. At the fashion show, the children from the settlement were used as models to showcase the Face of Pneumonia. Afterwards, we became ‘members’ of their family as it were; they did not hesitate when we brought health workers from Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) to immunize their children. In one day, over 441 children under 5 were immunized for measles and polio with only about 5 families refusing to immunize their children.
Although some members of the community have started going to the health center about 10 km away on their own, more needs to be done in area of immunization and cleanliness. We also were able to introduce the village to the health center midwife so much that the relationship between them is cordial. Due to this relationship, there has been a lot of visitation from the health center to the settlement to administer polio immunization for the children, just few months ago the health workers also gave the children of the settlement vitamin A supplements.
Most Hausa communities in Nigeria are governed by many beliefs and superstitions towards immunization (example: immunization would make them impotent) and medical treatments in general. But finally, the Chief of the community has been able to attest to the benefits of vaccines and immunization, because they have realized that four years ago about fifty (50) children die yearly from various ailments, but within the last two (2) years, when some families started immunizing their children, they discovered that the child mortality rate reduced to about five (5) children a year. Wow!!! Did I feel good or what? This is one of our objectives to be an NGO that helped to reduce the mortality rate of the Nigerian child. We are getting there though it is still work in progress.
With all these amazing results, Vaccine Network has been able to gain the trust of the settlement, which gave us the opportunity to enter their homes to meet more women and children, with time they started releasing their women and infants for routine immunization which was usually prohibited in the settlement due to religious belief. To encourage them, we organize a monthly visit with the women and children that need vaccination and transport them to the nearby health center. We also have an influencer within the settlement who gives us updates concerning the settlement example: who gave birth recently or who wants to go for immunization but has no transport money e.t.c.
Due to their filthy environment and the adverse effect it would have on the health of the children, we further thought them how to clean their environment, to motivate them Vaccine Network organizes quarterly competition / check-ups where the cleanest house gets a gift such as grinding machine e.t.c. After the cleaning exercise, we knew that without running water it would be impossible to keep the desired level of cleanliness, so we rounded up 2012 by giving the settlement with the of our supporters the much-desired borehole.
Currently, we ensure that we visit them regularly and work with them in many of our advocacy activities in order to sustain our ongoing efforts.
One settlement down, 45 more to go!!!!………………………..Life is precious.