Tashan Jirgi Primary Health Care Centre (PHC) was constructed in 2020 by the member representing Wushishi LGA in the Federal House of Representatives and had remained locked and unused.
The reason behind the facility’s prolonged closure was the failure of the local government authorities to deploy health workers to staff and manage the centre after its handover. Consequently, pregnant women residing in the community endured the risks of crossing a river to access healthcare at another centre.
Following this report by Nigeria Health Watch in January 2022, the PHC has now been opened and operational since April 2022. The LGA has addressed the previous lack of deployment of health workers, ensuring that health workers are now stationed at the centre to provide necessary medical care.
Despite the reopening of the PHC, residents continue to encounter significant challenges in accessing essential services, as numerous unresolved issues persist both within and around the facility. Safiya Anas, a pregnant woman who was admitted to the facility and received medical attention, said, “We were delighted when the facility was opened. But it lacked health workers, essential tools and drugs.” She added that the road leading to the facility is also not safe for pregnant women as bandits often block the road with harmful weapons capable of inflicting severe injury. These criminals show no mercy, even when confronted with women who are carrying children or in labour.
Umaru Babati, a resident, said he volunteered to work at the facility as a gateman. However, he has received only one stipend in the span of over 12 months. As the sole security personnel responsible for safeguarding the facility, Babati said he is overwhelmed with his duties. He appealed to the local government authority (LGA) to assign him a partner or assistant to alleviate his burden and ensure effective security measures.
Safiya Abdullahi, a staff of the clinic, said that although the facility was built to ease the stress of accessing healthcare for the people of the Tashan Jirgi and neighbouring communities, it has not been equipped with beds and laboratory equipment and is still short-staffed. “We only have three qualified health workers in this facility, and the beds we use here are the old ones from our former clinic”. However, according to Safiya, insecurity is the staff and patients’ major problem. “These challenges really hinder effective service delivery,” she lamented. She urged the LGA authorities and all stakeholders to come to their aid in ensuring security and providing the facility with essential tools and drugs for better service delivery.
Stakeholders in Niger State and Wushishi LGA should:
- Ensure adequate staffing and equip the Tashan Jirgi PHC with essential tools, drugs, and laboratory equipment.
- Improve security measures, including addressing road safety issues leading to the facility, and collaborate witstakeholders in the community for effective service delivery.