Utacchu Primary Health Centre (PHC) was built years ago to meet the healthcare needs of the members of Utacchu Community in Kontagora Local Government Area (LGA) of Niger State. As a result of years of neglect, everything in the PHC is either broken or rundown and currently, both health workers and community members have abandoned the facility.
Sitting in a small, tight room from where he and his colleagues provide services, Muhammad Mamman, the officer in charge of the PHC said that they “are using a room that was provided to us by one of the community members. We are providing services from this room. There is no functional structure in that health facility. No client goes there, no woman goes for delivery there and no child is taken there for immunisation”. Because of the size of the room, they are limited by the services they can provide, as they cannot conduct delivery or hold antenatal and immunisation days in the room. As a result, they must follow pregnant women and children in the community to their houses for immunisation, while most women in labor must be transported to other communities with health facilities to deliver.
The situation is taking a toll on the community said Daudu Garba Ahmed, the community leader. According to him, due to the condition of the PHC, healthcare services are no longer readily available to the community members. He added that, it’s bad enough that they must transport a woman in labour to another community, but the cost of transport makes it worse as it is obviously more expensive and a lot riskier than giving birth at a nearby facility.
Neglected and poorly maintained PHCs appear to be a common occurrence in most rural communities, and this is unacceptable as nobody should be forced to either access healthcare or provide healthcare services in unpleasant conditions. There is no dignity there. Utacchu Community members are asking the Kontagora LGA and the Niger State government to, as a matter of urgency, do the following:
1. Completely rehabilitate and reconstruct Utacchu PHC
2. Provide the facility with basic and essential medication
3. Provide a new delivery couch, beds, and chairs in addition to basic diagnostic equipment