Community Health Watch

Under-equipped and Under-staffed: The Struggle for Quality Healthcare in Gbangba Tsofogi

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Gbangba Tsofogi, a community primarily made up of farmers and petty traders in Gbako Local Government Area (LGA) of Niger State, has a health centre (PHC) that was built to provide health services to its members and neighbouring communities. However, the centre is not operating at full capacity due to a shortage of personnel and inadequate infrastructure.

The officer-in-charge (OIC), Mohammed Yunusa, expressed his frustration with the facility’s condition, stating that it lacks beds for patients and basic materials like gloves. He added that the facility’s hygiene is substandard, making it less than ideal for patient care.

The facility, in spite of its importance to Gbangba Tsofogi and neighbouring communities, is still not up to standard. We attend to patients on mats in an unhygienic room which we cannot do anything about,” said the OIC. He urged the government to intervene and ensure that the facility operates adequately.

Ndagi Abubakar, a resident of the community, also corroborated the OIC’s claims, stating that the government must act swiftly to ensure that the community members can assess quality healthcare when they need it. He explained that the centre is currently unable to perform critical diagnostic tests, particularly for pregnant women, as it lacks a laboratory. He pleaded with the government and other relevant stakeholders to provide them with a laboratory, as “diagnosis is a key feature of a health centre.”

Abubakar revealed that it was members of the Gbangba Tsofogi community who contributed money to build the facility, charging the government to fulfil its responsibility to equip the health centre to enable it function properly.

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) in a statement to mark the 2022 PHC Summit with the theme “Re-imagining Primary Health Care in Nigeria,” noted that only 43 per cent of Nigerians have access to quality PHC services, a situation that is worsening disease outbreaks and out-of-pocket expenditure.

Every Nigerian, regardless of their location or social status, has the right to access quality health services whenever and wherever they need them. Gbangba Tsofogi community deserves a well-equipped healthcare centre. Therefore, the government of Niger State and all relevant stakeholders must:

  1. Complete and upgrade the PHC – including a proper parameter fence.
  2. Build a laboratory and a pharmacy in the facility.
  3. Equip the centre with all essential equipment and tools.  
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