Gabadna community in Paikoro Local Government Area (LGA) of Niger State is a community where residents are forced to access healthcare in a Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) that is so decrepit, one would think it was no longer in use.
Garba Kafa, an elderly man who is also a security guard at the health facility said since it was built 10 years ago, Gabadna PHC has never been connected to electricity. He added that a transformer was brought to the community more than six years ago but has not been installed. “In the dry season when the weather is hot, health workers find it difficult to sit inside because of the heat and there is only one room where they attend to patients and conduct all investigation”, he said.
Linda Anthony, a health worker in the facility revealed that in addition to its numerous challenges, the health facility has no functional equipment. “We have a health facility that is almost collapsing. The roof has no ceiling, the building is cracking, there is no toilet or water, no laboratory, and the beds are also almost broken”, she lamented. According to Anthony, the poor condition of the facility is the reason they have low patronage especially from women in the community. “Most women don’t like coming for antenatal despite the sensitisation we carry out, she said,adding that the lack of electricity is one of the reasons they don’t work at night as they and the few patients they get do not feel comfortable giving or receiving care in the dark.
For a PHC to function optimally, it must have, among other things, a well-maintained structure, electricity, well trained and adequate staff and the necessary equipment. The national technical guidelines of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in PHCs recommends that every PHC must have gender sensitive toilet facilities for health workers and patients, as well as a source of clean water supply and proper storage equipment. Paikoro LGA, the State Primary Health Care Development Agency and the Niger State government should ensure that health facilities like Gabadna have everything required by law to ensure that members of Gabadna community can access health in a dignified and equitable way.