Kano Interview Series (6)
By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde
Lafiya Jari is one of the youth empowerment programs under the state Community Reorientation Committee (CRC). I first came across it in my interview with the CRC chairman. I requested to meet its officials who were coincidentally holding a meeting at the training site in the premises of former School of Hygiene, Kano, that afternoon of 31 May 2012. I visited a class full of students undergoing the training. This was how my interview with the Chairman of the program, Alhaji Shehu Usman Aliyu – who also doubles as adviser to the Governor on vaccination and sanitation matters – went.
Me: What is Lafiya Jari all about?
Chairman: It is a program invented by the Kwankwaso administration during his first tenure. He reintroduced it when he resumed office last year. In it, unemployed youths who have completed programs in our health institutions are trained on commerce and given N150,000.00 worth of drugs to enable them open chemists in their communities. Before, it was common to find drugs sold in wheel barrows on market days; sometimes they take these drugs to various Fulani settlements where they sell them to unsuspecting citizens. To protect these citizens from the hazard of such drugs, the idea of getting health workers who have the basic knowledge of medicine to engage in selling the drugs was conceived. They are trained here in commerce on how to make profit, bookkeeping, etc.
Me: How many students are here now?
Chairman: We have 600 students. Four hundred have graduated already. You can see them in many areas of the state.
Me: Are the beneficiaries members of “Kwankwasiyya” alone or the choice is made from the general public?
Chairman: It is open to different kinds of youths that are unemployed but who are trained in as health workers and are indigenes of Kano State, regardless of their political inclinations. They will benefit everybody, so there is no need to discriminate against anyone.
Me: Does this include veterinary drugs since you mentioned rural communities.
Chairman: The issue of veterinary drugs is handled by the Ministry of Agriculture. Here we are concerned with human medicine only.
Me: In any program, there would be unforeseen problems. Have you had any problem regarding how the course is run, or regarding the students or their tutors?
Aliyu: Well, in anything you do there should be a yardstick. If using that yardstick you realize that you have achieved 99% of your objectives, I think you can overlook remaining 1 or 2% that is not worth mentioning. Since we started the program, it has been running smoothly without any major problem from government, students, or tutors.
Me: Malam Aliyu, Thank you so much.
Aliyu: Thank you.