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Abaji primary health centres lack drugs, equipment

Some primary healthcare centres in Abaji Area Council lack drugs and equipment to offer patients effective medical treatment. Our reporter, who visited some of the…

Some primary healthcare centres in Abaji Area Council lack drugs and equipment to offer patients effective medical treatment.

Our reporter, who visited some of the centres in Gurdi, Bari-bari, Adagba and Rafin –Daji communities observed that the Sure-P-built health centres, which are under the supervision of the FCT Primary Healthcare Board, have no drugs, while some have no equipment.

A resident of Gurdi community, Usman Ndako, said lack of drugs at the healthcare centre has been the major challenge for patients. He said one of the health personnel at the centre sometimes came with drugs from home to sell to patients.

He said after consultation at the centre, patients either bought drugs from the health personnel or travelled to Abaji or Yaba town to purchase drugs prescribed for them.

He also said that pregnant women in the community, who visit the healthcare centre for delivery paid N5,000, noting that such money was paid for drugs and some other items.

“The major challenge we face here in Gurdi community is lack of drugs at the health care centre. The only alternative, whenever a patient is prescribed drugs, is to engage the service of commercial cyclist or a relative to travel to Abaji town or Yaba to buy the drugs.

“Although, the nurse at the health centre sometimes comes along with drugs which patients have to buy from him, but in a situation where the drug prescribed is not available, one has to travel on bike out of the town to buy it,” he said.

He added “And pregnant women that go for delivery at the health centre have to pay a sum of N5,000 which the nurse uses for drugs and other delivery items.”

Also speaking, the District Head of Gurdi, Alhaji Bala Mohammed, said the primary healthcare centre in the community has no drugs and also lacks enough personnel to attend to patients.

He said despite the population of the community and residents from neighbouring villages who visit the centre to seek for treatment, only two health personnel attend to patients at the facility.

“We have over 15 neighbouring villages, apart from the Fulani people that also come to seek for medical treatment at the healthcare centre, but only two health personnel man the centre. And apart from that, sometimes, patients have to travel out of the village to buy prescribed drugs,” he said.

The District Head also said the healthcare centre has no equipment and appealed to the FCT Primary Healthcare Board to come to the aid of his people by providing more staff and equipment as well as drugs in the clinic.

Residents of Baribari community in the area have also complained over lack of drugs at their primary healthcare centre.

The spokesman of the community,  Audu Stephen, who spoke with Aso Chronicle, said since the primary healthcare centre was opened some years ago, no drug was provided by the government, adding that patients mostly travel to the city or towns to buy drugs prescribed for them.

He said apart from its dilapidated nature, the health personnel at the clinic hardly attended to patients, adding the personnel sometimes came to the centre once a month.

He said sometimes the healthcare centre remained under lock and key due to absence of the health personnel, forcing patients to travel, on motorcycle, to neighbouring Dobi village in Gwagwalada to seek for medication.

Stephen said: “Apart from the two beds, there is no other equipment and the nurse comes all the way from Dobi in Gwagwalada to attend to patients which is not even on a daily basis. And I think the man is afraid of this issue of kidnapping which I suspect prevents him from staying here in this village because a doctor’s chalet has been provided,” he added.

He said the centre was the only health facility at the community, which he said serves about 11 neighbouring communities within the area, making it difficult for patients to access treatment.

“In fact, the only time you can see the doctor at the clinic is either during the monthly polio immunization exercise and sometimes he comes around after two weeks and goes back to Gwagwalada where he stays,” he said.

He said though the healthcare centre was built along with doctors’ and nurses’ chalet, no staff slept there.

“In fact, even after attending to patients, the doctor only prescribes drugs  as patients have to travel to Dobi village in Gwagwalada to get such drugs because this is the only health centre in this axis that serves over 13 other villages around,” he added.

He also called on the authorities of the council to liaise with the management of the FCT healthcare board on the need to renovate the clinic and provide them with health personnel that would always be around to attend to patients.

Also in Adagba community, some residents, who spoke with our reporter, complained of lack of enough health personnel and drugs at the healthcare centre.

A resident, Mohammed Bawa, said drugs were not available in the clinic’s pharmacy, adding that a health personnel at the centre buys drugs from pharmacies in Gwagwalada to sell to patients.

He also complained over the dilapidated state of the healthcare centre, saying part of the roof was blown off by the wind during rainy season last year. He appealed to the management of the FCT Primary Healthcare Board to come to the aid of the community by providing drugs and refurbishing the centre.

Reacting, the acting Executive Secretary of the Primary Healthcare Development Board in the FCT (PHCDB) Dr. Iwot Ndaeyo, said the board was making efforts to address some of the challenges facing primary healthcare centres not only in Abaji rural communities, but other villages across the territory.

He said funding gaps also contributed to the delay in provision of drugs, equipment and health personnel across the healthcare centres.

“In fact, even right in the board we don’t have enough staff because of some people that have retired. So the board is making effort to ensure that most of these problems facing some primary healthcare centres in the FCT were addressed headlong,” he said.

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