It is not hard for a first-time visitor to Matandi Primary Health Centre (PHC) to imagine it as the well-built, well equipped health centre it once was, positioned to meet the health needs of the people of Matandi community in Magama Local Government Area (LGA) of Niger State.
But that was in the past. The PHC is currently in ruins and urgently in need of every critical intervention, starting with the building itself. According to Muhammad Rabo, the community leader of Matandi, there is no section of the PHC that is not broken. “We fear entering the hospital especially during the rainy season. If a pregnant woman comes to the facility to deliver, there is no place to do that. No one can go to the hospital to get medications, because the medications are not there”, he said, adding that “the health workers themselves don’t have a place to sit”. It is commendable that the health workers are still able to offer some semblance of health services in the PHC despite its current state, however, this is not advisable as merely being in the building in its present state is a health hazard to both health workers and patients.
Aisha Gado Muhammed, a health worker at the PHC echoed the community leader’s sentiments. She said the health workers can’t conduct delivery in the PHC’s labor room, they, therefore, follow women home to conduct deliveries there. “Nobody wants to deliver in this kind of place. That’s why the women prefer to deliver at home or go to another town. Those that are delivering at home we must follow them there to assist them”. She added that essential antenatal medications are also not available, as a result, antenatal services are not performed properly.
Presently, residents of Matandi community must travel to Kontagora and Ibeto towns, which are several kilometers away to access healthcare. This is not ideal.
The residents of Matandi community have clearly articulated their health needs and we urge the officials of Magama LGA and Niger State Government to address them urgently:
1. Complete reconstruction of Matandi PHC.
2. Provision of adequate equipment including delivery beds and couch, chairs, tables, and diagnostic equipment for the PHC.
3. Provision of essential and basic medications for the health facility.