College clinics in shambles | Dailytrust

College clinics in shambles

Every school owes its staff as well as students adequate and qualitative health care responsibility....

An abandoned school clinic at Hassan Usman Katsina Memorial Unity College in Bauchi
An abandoned school clinic at Hassan Usman Katsina Memorial Unity College in Bauchi

Clinics and other health care facilities in some Northern schools are in a shambles, with health care services in huge deterioration. Daily Trust’s findings show that not only are clinic structures dilapidated, there is acute shortage of medical equipment as well as drugs. Consequently, school managements refer cases to other hospitals and clinics, while patients shun the poor school facilities.

Every school owes its staff as well as students adequate and qualitative health care responsibility. This can only be guaranteed through good and steady health infrastructure such as clinics, dispensary, equipment, qualified medical personnel, effective drugs as well as prompt medical attention. Beyond all these, provision of health counselling and education to students are also very crucial.

A school that does not have the capacity to offer such comprehensive health package, should have at least a sickbay to be able to offer first aid and triage for illnesses and injuries. The sickbay is supposed to be managed by qualified personnel who can also handle emergency care and referrals.

Clinic at Shehu Garbai Schools, Maiduguri, Borno State

Borno

Federal Government College, Monguno, Borno State, which operates at a temporary site in Maiduguri, has a clinic for over 1,000 students. But the facility, which is managed by two nurses is yet to be equipped.

The Vice Principal, Adamu Zadva, said the clinic had not been provided  with beds and other equipment, except drugs that are being provided by the management.

“We were given this temporary site by the state government for 10 years. We moved here  early this year. We have a clinic managed by two nurses, but beds have not been provided even though mattresses are available,” said.

Zadva added that medical cases that could not be handled by the nurses were referred to the Umaru Shehu Ultra-Modern Hospital, Bulunkutu, where the school has a file.

Government College, Maiduguri too, has a clinic which provides medical services to its 5,000 students including 3,000 that live in the hostels.

The Principal, Babagana Abacha, said more medical equipment were required at the clinic. He added that major medical cases were referred to tertiary health facilities.

“We buy drugs and pay for the medical bills of students referred to other hospitals for treatment,” he said.

The clinic at Government Girls College, Maiduguri, is managed by a community health officer who is an employee of the Ministry of Health.  Most of the facilities at the clinic are obsolete, while the ceilings are being eaten up by termites.

A source told our correspondent that the school management usually bought drugs for the clinic but facilities. The source added that common ailments cases reported at the clinic included abdominal pain and toilet infections.

The Principal, Yagana Imam, said the clinic which was built many years ago is dilapidated. According to him, renovation had to be carried out to put it in good shape.

Imam, however, said that in spite of the challenges, health officials attend to students daily.

Shehu Garbai Schools, Damboa Road, Borno State, has a clinic with card, injection and dressing rooms. It also has an office for the medical officer in charge. The nursing officer, Roda Ishaku Baba, said that the facilities at the care unit needs an upgrade, while the ventilation system needs refurbishing by creating additional windows.

Bauchi

In Bauchi State, majority of public boarding schools have a dispensary each instead of a clinic that offers medical treatments to students.

But a few special boarding schools have clinics furnished with medical beds. They offer skeletal services due to lack of equipment and poor funding.

When our correspondent visited the Hassan Usman Katsina Memorial Unity School in the state, he  discovered that the school clinic was under lock and key and rusty.

An SSS 2 student of the school who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Daily Trust Saturday that the clinic had since been converted to a dispensary where drugs such as pain killer are given to students.

“The school clinic is no longer functional and many of the facilities like bed scraps and other equipment are still inside the clinic rotting away without getting the attention of the management. When a student falls sick and reports to the authorities, he would be given some medications. If the illness persists, management would tell the parents to take the student to an hospital,” he said.

The situation is the same at Government Secondary School, Toro, where a teacher confided in our reporter that the school did not have a functional clinic for many years now. But one of the teachers was appointed as health master to dispense medication to any ailing students before parents are invited to take him or her to hospital.

All efforts to get the reaction of the State Ministry of Education proved abortive as the acting permanent secretary refused to attend to this reporter after keeping him waiting for over two hours. He later worked out on him.

 

Yobe

In Yobe State, only few boarding schools reportedly have functional dispensaries for the time being.

There is a dispensary at Government Girls Unity College Damaturu. It has basic first aid facilities.

However, a student of Government Secondary School, Damaturu, one of the schools visited by our correspondent, said he could not recall the last time drugs were provided  at the school dispensary.

He said whenever students fell sick, they got rushed to their parents to take care of them.

A teacher disclosed that the only dispensary being used at the moment was temporarily carved out of the staff office.

Sources at Government Science Technical College, Potiskum and Federal Government College, Potiskum, who spoke on phone confirmed  that though the schools had dispensaries, only few medications were available.

Adamawa

Lack of basic drugs in public boarding schools clinics in Adamawa State put hundreds of lives of students in danger.

Although some of the schools have resident nurses,  sick students are often turned away or treated with paracetamol even when they are in a severe health condition.

Students were seen receiving treatments at chemist shops in Yola.  Sometimes, it is good Samaritans among the teaching staff that pay the  bills.

“Most of the times, the clinic at the General Murtala Muhammad College, Yola, do not have essential drugs,” a teacher lamented.

A staffer of Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS), Yola, who preferred anonymity said that students from other Northern states under the Students Exchange Programme suffered most as a result of non-availability of drugs at the school clinic.

“The school clinic is empty. There are no drugs. That is why students go outside the school for malaria treatment,” he said.

When contacted, the Education Commissioner, Mrs Wilbina Jackson, said that government was working assiduously to address the situation.

“It is possible (there are no drugs) but we are working to correct it. We will not allow our students to die just like that,” she stated.

 

Taraba

All the three federal government colleges in Taraba State have functional clinics with each of them having a nurse and drugs for minor illnesses.

The schools include Federal Government Girls Secondary School and Federal Technical College in Jalingo as well as Federal Government College (a mixed school)  in Wukari.

Daily Trust gathered that the school authorities buy  drugs from their running costs but students pay the bills.

However,  students who need intensive medical attention are taken to the Federal Medical Center, Jalingo, and General Hospital, Wukari, for treatment.

Efforts by our reporter to get the school authorities’ reactions were to no avail, following their claim that they were not allowed to speak with the press.

Finding also revealed that secondary schools owned by the Taraba  State Government have clinics without drugs.

At Comprehensive Secondary School, Jalingo, (a boarding school), there is a clinic without drugs. Consequently, students that fall sick are sent home to their parents to take care of their treatment.

A principal of one of the secondary schools in Jalingo who spoke on the condition of anonymity said  that  the state’s Ministry of Education had stopped giving schools running cost for many years now.

He added that without running cost, it would be impossible for  schools to run clinics.

He appealed to the state government to restore the running cost system for secondary schools in the state.

Dear Reader,
Every day, we work hard to provide readers such as you with the most accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive information. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Your support means that Daily Trust can keep offering journalism to everyone in the world. Sign up for as little as N1,000 to become a member. Learn more about our membership here

Bank transfers can be made to:
Zenith Bank
1017257739
Media Trust Ltd


Please send details of your bank transfer to the email or Whatsapp number below so that we can contact you.

If you have any questions, please let us know.

Inquiries:
Email: membership@dailytrust.com
Whatsapp: +234 806 990 3410