It is safe to say that Sommazhiko community in Gbako Local Government Area, Niger State, is one fortunate community as the Sommazhiko Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) was recently renovated using funds from the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) and the Niger State Contributory Health Care Agency (NiCARE). However, the facility is still facing challenges.
According to the Officer-in-Charge (OiC), although the facility was outfitted with such equipment as a solar power system, fridges and a birthing couch, it still lacks some essential services. For example, referring critically ill patients to a secondary health facility is often difficult because they do not have an ambulance. Also, the PHC doesn’t have enough health workers and so they are unable to provide quality healthcare to the many communities the facility serves. “The absence of a staff does not give us the opportunity to provide 24hours services. We need accommodation for staff to be always around, so that in times of emergencies like labour at night, patients can be attended to,” he lamented. There is also no source of water supply within the PHC.
For Mathew Nmadu, the assistant OiC of Sommazhiko PHC, the constant stock out of essential medicine greatly impedes their ability to provide the quality of care needed. “We particularly run out of malaria drugs and antenatal medications” he said.
The renovations carried out by the BHCPF and NiCARE is highly commendable. However, it is troubling that a PHC under both the BHCPF and Nicare does not have any source of water supply, runs out of essential medications like antimalarial and antenatal drugs and has inadequate staff strength. There is a need for accountability across board to ensure efficient and transparent disbursement in the administration and expenditure of the BHCPF, from the federal level down to the PHC.
Sommazhiko community members are grateful for the work done so far in the PHC, however they believe that it can be made better by,
- Constructing staff quarters
- Recruiting and deploying more health workers to the PHC
- Ensuring a constant supply of, especially, essential medications
- Constructing a borehole inside the facility