Elizabeth Shaba Maternal and Child Health Clinic is in Nykangbe community, Chanchaga Local Government Area (LGA), of Niger State. The clinic is primarily focused on providing maternal and child health services among other promotive, preventive, and curative health services. Besides being well structured, the clinic has an adequate workforce which enables it to provide 24-hour services. However, it lacks one critical amenity – electricity.
According to Habiba Musa, the officer in charge of the clinic, although poor electricity supply persists across the country, the power issue at Elizabeth Shaba Clinic is extreme, as there is no alternate source of energy in the facility and the community sometimes goes days without electricity supply. ‘’Immediately after delivery, every baby is expected to be vaccinated but due to this inconsistency in power supply and also due to lack of a standby power system, vaccines are not kept in the clinic. As such, the babies will not receive their normal scheduled vaccine after birth rather mothers are asked to return for vaccination of their babies two or three days after birth which is not supposed to be’’, She said. Musa also complained that most times when a delivery is conducted and complications occur, they are forced to take the woman to another facility that has back up electricity and this delay sometimes affects the recovery process.
Usman Aliyu, a member of Nykangbe community confirmed the toll the lack of electricity in the clinic is taking on community members. “I brought my younger brother for treatment since eight pm yesterday and the staff recommended a laboratory test which will require electricity but it is already 1PM today and there is still no electricity for the test to be carried out’’.
Health facilities cannot function without electricity. Services, including deliveries should never be conducted in darkness, and a newborn should never miss the first dose of their recommended vaccines, as it could pose a health risk for them later in life. Women and children in Nykangbe community deserve optimal care from the clinic, and to get this, the community members are requesting for the following:
- Installation of a solar power system to provide the clinic with uninterrupted power supply.
- Provision of solar powered refrigerators to store vaccines at required temperature
- Provision of coolers and iceboxes for vaccines to be stored for a longer duration.