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Community Health Watch

Somajigi PHC: Seeking a Resolution to its Multiple Challenges

Somajigi is a rural community in Gbako Local Government Area (LGA) of Niger State. A Primary Health Centre (PHC) was established to meet the health care needs of the residents of Somajigi and surrounding communities, but it lacks the necessary infrastructure to enable it function smoothly.

Mohammed Chado, the officer in-charge of the PHC said the facility has no functional equipment, and the staff strength is grossly inadequate. “I am the only staff here. I provide all the services alone. Whenever I am absent, the facility closes,’’ he said, adding that he performs other duties such as cleaning the health facility as there are no cleaners available. He bemoaned the fact that there are not enough beds in the facility. “When the beds we are managing are occupied patients lie on the ground,” he said.

There appears to be no end to the issues in Somajigi PHC as Chado also revealed that there are no toilets and no source of water supply. Patients or their relatives fetch water from rivers where cows and other domestic animals also drink from, and wells. Worse still, they are left to figure out what to do about bowel movements.

In addition to the above-mentioned challenges, the facility also grapples with frequent and prolonged medicine stock outs. According to Chado, requests to Gbako Local Government Area health secretariat for replenishment are not attended to in a timely manner. As a result, Somajigi community members are forced to travel to Lemu or Bida towns to access quality healthcare.

The poor state of Somajigi PHC is taking a toll on the community members, as according to Aisah Alhaji, when they go into labour, women are taken to Lemu or Bida towns to give birth. “When you come in the evening or at night there is no one here. There is only one worker and once he closes, the health facility closes,” she said.

Ever seen a health facility with only one staff?

It’s not right that a place that should be providing quality healthcare is left in such a condition. For Somajigi PHC to function optimally, Chado, Alhaji and other community members are asking for the following,

  1. Recruitment and deployment of more health workers to the facility.
  2. Provision of functional equipment in the facility.
  3. Constant replenishment and provision of drugs and consumables for the facility.
  4. Construction of adequate and gender friendly toilet and water facilities for the facility.

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