The solution is in the Fulani’s acceptance of legitimate healthcare and medicine...
When Hope Academy opened its doors to Fulani children and herdsmen began to settle their families in the area, it became quickly apparent that healthcare for these nomads was desperately needed. Their women were giving birth in terribly primitive conditions and dying in their camps, babies were taken to ‘native doctors’ and not recovering from their illnesses. Children were contracting polio, as parents feared that these vaccines and medicines were ‘fake’. Were the medicines indeed fake? Some of them were, indeed. Add to this the prejudice and lack of attention received by the Fulani over generations, and it is clear why these nomads avoided hospitals and visiting, government health workers.
With assistance from friends in Wenatchee, Washington, Phyllis Sortor opened a health clinic at Hope Academy, providing free medicine and healthcare to Fulani children and their parents as well as to the other tribal families attending the school.
As their health began to improve so did the Fulani’s confidence grow in established, modern medicine, and the Fulani, rather than frequenting native doctors, began to choose the local teaching and specialist hospitals. But still their women give birth at home, and still these young mothers and babies die.
“There are no clinics on the grazing reserves; there is no health care for the Fulani,” reports Mr. Bello Mahmud, Nigeria Federal Ministry for Agriculture and Rural Development, (FMARD,) and Team Leader for Grazing Reserves, also Vice-President of the NGO, Schools for Africa.