For any person seeking to ascertain how well a Primary Health Centre (PHC) operates, the best people to speak to are the health workers in the facility, as well as the patients, preferably pregnant women, who use it more frequently than other community members.
Wasila Bala is a health worker at Saidu Namaska PHC in Magajiya community, Kontagora Local Government Area (LGA) of Niger state and she said the facility has numerous challenges. The most alarming being the poor condition of the delivery room. “It is difficult for us and the pregnant women to carry out delivery there because there is absolutely no equipment. We have only one bed which is not enough, the ceiling is broken, the windows are not covered and sometimes, we share the labour room with birds”, she said, adding that essential medicine for pregnant women is not always available at the health facility.
Fatima Suleiman a resident of Magajiya community said that due to the poor state of the labour room and unavailability of essential medicine, women are reluctant to visit the PHC for antenatal care and for delivery. She pleaded with the Niger State government and Kontagora LGA officials to rehabilitate the health facility, particularly the labour room, and provide essential medications to ensure that residents of the community can use the PHC comfortably.
Healthcare, especially maternal care, must be quality. This means, health facilities must have well-furnished, and functional labour rooms, qualified and adequate health workers and essential medicine for antenatal and postnatal care. Poor maternal care services could contribute to the third of the three delays associated with maternal mortality, which is the delay in accessing care in health facilities.
Kontagora LGA and the Niger State government should urgently address the following needs in Saidu Namaska PHC in Magajiya community:
1. Rehabilitate the labour room.
2. Provide adequate delivery beds and equipment.
3. Provide essential and basic medications for antenatal and postnatal services.