David ADENUGA, Bauchi
GURKA primary health care facility located in Maiwa, a rural community in Zaki Local Government Area, Bauchi State, has operated without power supply for almost seven years.
It is the insult added to the injury of a hospital whose structures are in pitiable conditions. The dilapidated structures are not hosts only to hospital’s staff and patients, they also serve as abodes for snakes, lizards and other reptiles that stroll in and out of the clinic at will.
Our correspondent who visited the dilapidated health care facility was confronted with the sight of buildings that had seen better days. Most of the buildings had no roof worth called such as the corrugated iron sheets that covered them had been blown off for years, leaving them with only their rafts.
In that condition, the staff and patients at the hospital are left at the mercy of heavy rain, scorching sun and other unpleasant natural conditions since there is nothing left on the roofs to act as shields.
Added to the foregoing is the overgrown weeds that have taken over some parts of the facility’s premises, exposing both workers and visitors to the danger of snakebite.
Boldly written on the pale walls of the facility is ‘ MDGs Nigeria, a 2011 project’. Checks by The Nation revealed that the facility was one of the projects of the United Nations under its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and was built with support from the state government under former governor Isa Yuguda ‘s administration in 2011.
A volunteer midwife at the maternity ward of the PHC, Hassana Madugu, who spoke with our correspondent, said the facility had been without power supply since she started working there about three years ago.
She said: ”I take delivery for pregnant women during labour and we are just managing the maternity ward.
”For the three years that I have been here, we use lamp or torchlight in the labour room, and I attend to 25-30 pregnant women in a month. The situation has been quite pathetic.
“Whenever it rains, the roof leaks. There was a time it rained and the roof collapsed on admitted patients. We had to use our money to call carpenters to fix the damage. Snakes even roam around the premises, although they have not bitten anyone.”
Madugu said severe cases during labour are transferred to the general hospitals.
A routine immunization focal person at the PHC, Shehu Haruna, who also lamented its miserable state in a conversation with our Correspondent, said the environment was unsafe for them.
He said they have also been exposed to harsh weather conditions and called for urgent intervention.
He said: ”During the rainy season, we cannot work. We are also being terrorised by snakes here due to the miserable state of the facility”
”Although no one has been bitten by snakes, we have killed many. We can’t wait for someone to be killed by dangerous snakes before we take proactive measures.
”As you can see, the roofs are in a sorry state. Since there is only one PHC per ward, this is the only one accessible to the residents here.
”Since last year, we have been calling the attention of the government through the Chairman of Zaki Local Government Council, but nothing has been done.
”But patients are still coming for services since it is the only PHC in the area.
“During rainy season, we attend to pregnant women through our Maternity In Charge House, which is behind the facility. We also have to move our property there when it is rainy season.
”The situation has also been reported to our local government director but up till now, nothing has been done. The PHC is still in a bad condition.”
Another health worker, Abubakar Ibrahim, said the pictures of the dilapidated structures had been sent to relevant agencies but no action had been taken.
He added that the health facility does not have anti-venom vaccines for snakebites, which he said poses a greater danger for patients and staff at the centre.
When contacted, the Director of primary health care centres in Zaki Local Government Area, Adamu Hamman, declined comments.
“I don’t think I can give you any information that I don’t know, ” he said before hanging up the phone on our reporter
However, the Deputy Director of Zaki PHCs, Abba Tata, said renovation has commenced in the PHC but there was no installation of electricity yet.
He confirmed that the PHC had been without electricity for almost seven years.
Zaki Local Government Chairman, Yahuza Abdulkadir, told our reporter on the phone that he would not speak on the matter without seeing the reporter physically. ”You’re not serious if you cannot meet me face to face,” he said.
He then gave the phone to his personal assistant who angrily told our reporter: ”We are not aware of what you are talking about. And please don’t call my boss again!”
When contacted, the Executive Secretary Bauchi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (BASPHCDA), Dr. Rilwanu Mohammed, said no formal complaint had been received by the agency about the condition of the health care centre.
According to him, the government plans to renovate dilapidated PHCs in the state.
He added that the PHCs in Zaki are not under the Nigeria State Health Investment Project (NSHIP).
He said: ”Our aim is to make sure the health facilities are in good condition.
“Besides, the Federal Government has allocated N447 million for the whole 3/3 PHC per ward, which has to do with renovation and upgrading.
”Zaki and Alkaleri are not part of the NSHIP facilities, unlike Gamawa where the health care facilities are in good condition. Even Azare, because they are part of the NSHIP project.”
Source: The Nation