If Primary Health Centres (PHC) operate at optimal capacity, they can cater to more than 80% of an individual’s healthcare needs. Sadly, Nigeria’s PHC system is riddled with so many challenges that this is hardly the case.
Kawo is a rural community in Kontagora Local Government Area of Niger State. The community has a health clinic that was built to meet the health needs of Kowa and other surrounding communities. In 2020, Kontagora LGA renovated the clinic, giving it a total facelift, however, it still has three major challenges which severely hinder the quality of service they offer, particularly maternal care.
Maryam Shehu, the officer in charge of the clinic said there are only two permanent staff in the clinic and three voluntary staff. This makes it virtually impossible to provide quality care and offer 24 hour services. “We can’t run a shift with only two staff. The voluntary staff cannot work at night. Even during the day, they only come when they don’t have other things to do. It’s not every day,” she said.
Shehu added that the facility lacks a perimeter fence which is an issue as the facility has been burgled several times. The clinic also lacks a labor room. Currently the female ward has been converted into a labour room which means that female patients no longer have a dedicated ward.
For Kawo Clinic to be able to operate at optimal capacity, the community members are asking for the following:
- Recruitment and deployment of more health workers to Kawo Clinic
- Construction of a labor room in the clinic
- Construction of a perimeter fence to secure the clinic.
Health workers are an integral part of healthcare delivery. No health facility can provide effective and quality healthcare, as well as offer 24-hour service, without adequate, well trained, and motivated staff. Moreover, a PHC must have a labor room as maternal care is an essential part of primary healthcare. A ward can never be an effective labour room as it is equipped to provide a resting place for recovering women and not for birthing babies. Finally, all possible measures must be put in place to ensure that health workers and patients go about the business of providing and accessing health care in safety.