Mantafien is a fishing community in Gbako Local Government Area (LGA) of Niger State and is surrounded by many other communities that lack access to quality healthcare services, due to the non-functionality of the primary healthcare centers (PHCs). However, the story is different in Mantafien, as people enjoy 24-hour healthcare services due to the existence of a standard PHC that was built in 2019, under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) program in Niger State.
‘’The health workers are available at any time of the day’’ said Usman Muhammad, a community member. He added that the PHC has 24-hour power supply because of the solar power system in the health facility. It also has a water tank that is connected to the solar power system.
Hadiza Dikko is attending antenatal in the PHC. She said since she became pregnant, she has been receiving antenatal care, including checkups, counselling, and routine medications from the facility. ‘’The health workers are always cheerful and friendly’’, she concluded.
Abubakar Muhammad is the in-charge of the PHC. He commended Gbako LGA for consistently supplying routine drugs to the PHC. He however lamented the lack of equipment such as blood pressure monitors and delivery couch, which limits the services they provide. He has requested for more health workers in the PHC, as according to him, they are only able to provide services for 24-hours a day because of help from voluntary staff working at the PHC. In addition, the PHC does not have a laboratory and the toilet is not connected to the water tank in the PHC and as such health workers must use buckets to fetch water from the tank into the toilets. Muhammad said the PHC is also not fenced, making it susceptible to reptiles.
The Niger State SDGs program must be commended for building a PHC that is providing healthcare services to the people of Mantafien. However, for the PHC to be fully functional and provide optimal healthcare, it should be provided with all the necessary equipment by the Gbako LGA and Niger State government. In addition to employing the health workers that have been working as volunteers, the PHC should be fenced to protect both health workers and community members, as well as prevent encroachment of the land.