Zinari is a small community under Shata ward in Bosso Local Government Area (LGA) of Niger State. The community is about 20 kilometers from Bosso town, and community members must cross three small rivers and climb several hills to get to Bosso. Karima Musa is a traditional birth attendant and is taking her son for his routine immunization at the only health facility in the community.
However, Musa and other women with health workers must endure the foul smell coming out of the open pit latrine in the health facility. ‘’The latrine is close to the facility and the smell is unbearable’’, she said. Additionally, Musa says due to the latrine being open, she and other women bringing children for immunization or attending antenatal cannot use it. “Our dignity is not protected. If any of us is pressed, our only option is to return home. Those whose homes are far from here make use of our homes to ease themselves’’, Musa said, pleading with Bosso LGA to at least fix the toilet in the facility for women in the community, so they feel secure enough to use it.
Mary Ishaya is the in-charge of Zinari Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC), and she confessed that the smell coming out of the open pit latrine is a bitter distraction for the health workers. “We cannot sit comfortably inside the facility. Both us and the patients are disturbed’’, she said. Ishaya added that Zinari PHC is surrounded by grass, it is not fenced and the ceiling in the health facility is completely broken, posing a danger to the health workers and patients.
Sanitation and hygiene facilities are some of the basic and necessary requirements for a health facility. Health workers in Zinari PHC should not endure the smell that comes out of the open pit latrine, and women should not have to suffer the indignity of having to rush home to ease themselves while attending antenatal or immunization visits in the facility. Bosso LGA and Niger State government should do the needful in Zinari PHC and other PHCs that are in such condition in the state. In addition, the facility should be fenced to protect the health workers and patients and to ensure their security.
Additionally, grass around health facilities such as Zinari PHC should consistently be cleared to limit the risk to patients from snakes and other dangerous animals. The inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities increases the risk of infectious diseases spreading and makes the functioning of any infection prevention and control (IPC) measures difficult to implement.