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Community Health Watch

Nuwankosoma PHC: Nothing but an empty shell

Nuwankosoma Primary Health Center (PHC) in Gbako Local Government Area (LGA) of Niger State was built 20 years ago and there is no evidence that it has undergone any tangible renovation in that period. The PHC was built in the early 2000s to meet the health care needs of the people of Nuwankosoma community who used to visit traditional healers for all their health needs.

As a result of wear and tear from years of neglect, the PHC no longer functions as well as it used to and the community members who are mainly farmers, having no other healthcare alternatives, are gradually resorting to their previous practice of visiting traditional healers.

Abubakar Tanko, who is in charge of the health centre said the PHC has no beds. “Patients are admitted on mats. There is no delivery couch, no essential drugs for pregnant women or even basic drugs for malaria and diarrhea. We sometimes use our money to purchase drugs”. Tanko added that the facility also lacks water, and they rely on a nearby river to get water to use in the PHC.  

Hauwa Abdullah, a resident of Nuwonkosoma, confirmed Tanko’s observations and added that women are reluctant to access antenatal services at the PHC because there are no drugs for them, and no relevant equipment. “Even during deliveries, women are normally referred to other health facilities inside town because this one does not have a bed, no drugs and no equipment.”

Nuwankosoma community members recognise that to effectively meet their health needs, a PHC must have a standard structure, essential drugs, adequate and gender equitable water, sanitation and hygiene facilities and qualified and adequate health workers. They are therefore asking the Gbako LGA and Niger State government to,

  1. Completely rehabilitate Nuwankosoma PHC with improved, standard infrastructure
  2. Provide essential and basic medications for health facility
  3. Ensure the availability of adequate and gender equitable water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in the PHC
  4. Provide beds and a delivery couch, in addition to basic diagnostic equipment, in the PHC.

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