Construction work on the healthcare centre at Kabi, which was funded by the Subsidy Reinvestment Fund (Sure-P) has been put on hold while medical and pharmaceutical equipment worth millions of naira procured for the facility rot away.
The health centre project which has doctors and nurses quarters started in 2014 and work estimated to be at about 80 per cent completion stage since then.
The buildings have been roofed and doors and windows fixed while walls have been plastered and floors partly made.
The inability of the authorities to complete the work has, however made life hard for residents of the community.
Those who spoke to our reporter said they are left with no option than to seek for medical attention at the old, dilapidated clinic which is beside the new one.
Facilities provided and kept somewhere else are deep freezers of three different sizes, desks, chairs, thermometers, patients’ beds, among other hospital equipment.
Our reporter saw some of the equipment packed in an empty classroom at a newly established Junior Secondary School at the community.
The village head of the community, Ismaila Danjuma, said the contractor handling the project locked up the health centre after work was almost at 80 percent stage and left since 2014.
He said the non-completion of the health centre has been causing hardship not only to his subjects, but patients who come from neighbouring villages to seek for medical attention at the community.
According to him, there are over 15 villages that depend on the health centre at the community, which he said included Kabi-Kasa, Tude, Kuturkpo, Kabi Mangoro, Tugba, Cheta, Duda Achimbi, Agwe, Kashimuro, Kumwa, Ugye, Gidan Yerima, Kapa, Kutada, Takwa, Nagye, Kutupe and Gunagu, among others.
He further expressed concern over equipment which, he said, were laying waste, noting that the contractor locked up the health centre and left since about two years ago.
“In fact, there is also a scanning machine that the contractor who supplied the hospital equipment brought and kept in my house, apart from other equipment which are piled up inside a classroom rotting away,” he said.
He therefore appealed to the Chairman of Kuje Area Council, Alhaji Abdullahi D. Galadima, to intensify effort and reach out to the management of the FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat to mobilise the contractor back to site.
He said when the hospital is completed and commissioned, it will improve the health of the communities.
Also speaking, a medical personnel at the old clinic, Biko H. Yahaya, said since he was posted to the clinic at the community over 16 years ago, he has been managing the dilapidated facility to attend to patients.
He said when Sure-P commenced the construction of the new health centre four years ago, he heaved a sigh of relief and patients too were expectant that their suffering would soon come to an end but that was not to be.
He said he and his wife were the only health personnel that attend to patients at the old clinic, adding that patients spread their mats on the floor and lie on it while waiting or getting treatment.
He said he also attends to women in labour in the dilapidated clinic, and sometimes referred patients with serious cases to Kwali.
“Thank God you are here and you can see how one of the patients is laying on the floor. I had to give her drip there, which is not the best but I have no option,” he said.
The medical personnel revealed that he had personally written several letters to the authorities about the abandoned new health centre by the contractor, but that nothing has been done since then.
“You can see for yourself how patients’ lives have been under threat in this dilapidated clinic while the equipment procured for the new health centre are rotting away,” he added.
Meanwhile, the village chief further complained over lack of access to potable drinking water at the community, saying residents mostly fetch water from the pond for their domestic use, which exposed them to health risks.
The traditional ruler, who led our reporter to one of the ponds where women fetched water in the community, said the pond was their only source of water for both drinking and other domestic uses.
He said though there was a solar borehole which supplied water, it could not serve the needs of the entire residents.
“Sometimes the water get finished because of our population, which also includes Fulani people who also come to get water from the borehole and as soon as the water finishes they go to the pond,” he said.
He therefore appealed to the authorities of Kuje Area Council to provide additional boreholes in order to solve the problem of water scarcity at the community.
The village chief also said that lack of access to good road was another challenge facing residents especially farmers who always transported their crops to Kwaku market.
He said he had to mobilise farmers from some neighbouring villages to repair some bad portions of the road, before pick-up vans could come to the village to convey farm produce to the market. He appealed to the authorities of the council to grade the road and construct culverts across some streams along it to ease their hardships.
“The other issue that has been causing my people nightmares in this community are the Fulani herders who sometimes take their cows to the farm to destroy crops. I am appealing to the government to provide us a police outpost here so that issues like this can be tackled with the presence of security men on ground,” he said.
The chief added that the community needs a network mast so that his people can easily have access to communication networks.
“At least, whenever there is an emergency, especially faceoff between crop and livestock farmers, we can easily communicate with the police at Kwaku so that they can rush down here to address the issues,” the traditional ruler added.
When contacted, the special adviser on media and publicity to the chairman of Kuje Area Council, Haruna Usman, told Aso Chronicle that the chairman will set up a committee which would include the village head of the community, in order to reach out to the contractor handling the project.
He said the council was also worried over the abandonment of hospital equipment, saying that after reaching out to the contractor, the council will write the FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat to demand for the handing over of the clinic to the council.
“Actually, the present council chairman was not aware of the clinic project in the first place as nobody came from the village to complain, until now that you are telling us. But after much enquiry, it was discovered that the project was funded by Sure- P in 2014, and a committee will be set up this week to see how the contractor will be traced so that it will be handed over to the council,” he said.