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Bats sack workers, patients from Kano health centre

Accessing medical care has become near impossible for members of Dausara community in Ungoggo Local Government Area of Kano State as they also battle with lack of access roads to the community. 

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Not a few women and children have reportedly lost their lives while trying to get help from far away secondary health facilities since the only existing primary health facility in the community has been overrun by bats, resulting in the closure and relocation of the facility to a primary school block.

Dausara is situated few kilometres from Kano metropolis, with about 8, 000 inhabitants.  Despite being so close to the city, the community still lacks basic social amenities. A visit to the community, which should have taken less than an hour, took more than two hours, mainly due to the bad state of the roads. 

Daily Trust on Sunday gathered that due to the bad roads, many pregnant women have delivered on transit to health facilities. 

Chairman of Dausara Development Association, Malam Muntari Lawan, said for about two years now, bats have taken over the only health facility that caters for the whole community and its environs, sending officials and patients packing. He added that the Primary health care centre was established since 1977 and has been renovated just once in 2010.

Malam Muntari further revealed that the only health official’s residence built alongside the facility had since collapsed and has not been renovated, forcing any health official posted to the facility to live outside the community. 

“It is unfortunate that over 8, 000 people live in this community without a single functional health facility. Dausara community also lacks a single patent medicine store and should the makeshift health centre operating in the primary school block close, we’ll be left with no option than to take our sick ones to the Murtala Muhammed Specialist Hospital, Sir Sanusi Hospital or Bella Hospital, all of which are several kilometres away from the community. The main stumbling block remains the roads leading in or out of this community; they are in a terrible state,” said Malam Muntari.

A visit to the dilapidated health centre is greeted by pungent choking odour of the bats’ droppings, walls covered with cobwebs and an unkempt surrounding.  

Usman Ubale, a father of 2, who has lived in Dausara all his life; lost his wife to a prolonged labour last year. Ubale told our correspondent that his wife went into labour in the night, and as hard as he tried to take her to hospital, he couldn’t find any vehicle until in the morning. By the time they got a commercial tricycle the next morning to the hospital, she was already weak. Unfortunately, she gave up the ghost shortly after arrival, though the child survived.

“This is the life we live here; but as a Muslim, I believe that whatever God destines to happen will surely come to pass. However, my wife would have probably been alive today if we had a functional health facility or a residing health official to render even first aid treatment. I watched my wife in pain throughout the night, and then she died and left behind a baby girl. Commercial vehicles avoid our community because of the nature of our roads. All we need is for our health facility to be fumigated so that the health officials can comfortably carry out their duties,” he lamented.

The Primary Health Centre for years has been maintained by the community’s effort with an effective Drug Revolving Fund (DRF) of about N190,000 given to the facility by the previous government and with only two health workers running shifts. 

According to the Chairman Local Health Committee of the facility, Malam Haruna Muhammed, the healthcare centre which initially recorded about 200 daily visits, including antenatal visits, now record between 20 and 30 visits, adding that this is because the facility has been rendered inefficient by the bats.

“We have reported this issue to the local government authorities on several occasions. In fact, the then local government council chairman came personally to see the state of the facility and also a delegation was sent to assess the situation but all of a sudden the whole issue died a natural death. However, I’d want to use this opportunity to call on the authorities concerned to, as a matter of urgency, look into our community’s plight and come to our rescue,” pleaded Malam Haruna.

Investigation revealed that Dausara community has only two unskilled traditional birth attendants and every community member maintains a mini first aid kit as the community lacks even a patent drug store.

Attempts to reach the Executive Secretary Kano State Primary Health Care Management Board, Dr. Nasir Mahmud, proved abortive but a source close to the board revealed that there are over 1, 200 health facilities under its care. The source further revealed that the board’s autonomy has not been fully completed as Primary Health Care workers are still under the local government payroll.

“The board issue on health facilities is a bit complicated. It is presumed that the over 1, 200 health facilities are under the board and still the local governments pay the salaries of health workers working in these facilities. It is actually a difficult task to know on what budget vote PHCs operate in Kano,” revealed the source.

 

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