Women Health Endangered as Squalid Hospital Runs on NGN220,000 Monthly Budget

By Mohammad Dahiru Lawal,. Khadija Ishaq Bawas

AREWA AGENDA – Inside the maternity ward of the Warawa Primary Healthcare Center in Warawa Local Government of Kano State, empty chairs, deserted wards and broken ceilings are hallmarks of the clinic.

With inadequate manpower, limited infrastructure, lack of Personal Protective Wears (PPW) for Staff and non-existent temperature testing facilities to screen for possible COVID-19 infection, no matter the complication, patients are currently not being admitted in this hospital because health workers with inadequate staff strength are wary of catching infection and the women themselves are staying back.

This alone averts access to quality health care services particularly maternal, newborn and child health amenities.
To compound matters, the imminent rainy season has made the hospital prone to flooding as some of its roofing’s are exposed. Should the hospital get flooded, operations are bound to stop completely.
Moreover, Arewa Agenda gathers that despite abundance of un-extracted waters beneath its ground and availability of electricity in the host town, this hospital that seats on a fairly large expanse of land, doesn’t have water supply and has never had power since it was built about ten years ago.

Running on a stipend of NGN220,000 per month, the officer in charge of the Center has managed to give the center a good facelift and has renovated the much he can but there is little to what he can do, running a hospital of over 600 clients per month with such paltry.

Doctors here are being paid a meagre NGN40,000 per month and even so, only one qualified Medical Doctor, whose service is only available occasionally, is stationed at the hospital.

The hospital’s distress is being made worse due to a lack of synergy between the State Primary Health Care Management Board, SPHCMB, under the Executive Secretary of the Board, Dr. Tijjani Hussaini and the Kano State Contributory Healthcare Management Agency, KSCHMA, under the leadership of Dr Halima Muhammad Mijinyawa.

Kano State operates a contributory healthcare scheme aimed at reforming the healthcare sector with over 370,000 enrollees accessing healthcare services.
The Scheme is currently operating in 245 healthcare facilities comprising of 134 Primary healthcare facilities, 37 secondary facilities and 74 private healthcare facilities and the State Government in September 2019, approved the sum of N250m for the provision of ICT infrastructure to meet universal healthcare coverage.

With no single ICT system in site 9 months later, a source revealed that even the KSCHMA fund is untouchable for some officer’s in charge of PHC’s these days.
It was revealed that KSCHMA will release funds and give directives as to it’s usage but the SPHCMB will overide the directive.

Execetive Secreatay of the SPHMB went as far as ordering the stoppage of maintenance work, use of KSCHMA funds for purchase of drugs, ordered the stoppage of staff recruitment and even downsized the available hands while KSCHMA on the other hand had actually made the funds available for all these purposes.

“KSCHMA even went as far as advising us to use 75% of their funds for drugs and the remaining capitation can be used for sundry matters but board said we can’t use it.” Said a reliable source who pleaded anonymity.

Kano with a population of about 15million has 576 deaths per 100,000 live births and a Child mortality rate of 103 deaths per 1,000 live birth, with such inadequacy and disruption of service at the Warawa PHC, women in the area risk maternal and child mortality as known figures per live births are likely to increase.

Instead of releasing funds the State Government should allow KSCHMA recruit and deploy staff themselves. To that end, the Warawa PHC will require at least four additional Medical Doctors at the ratio of one doctor to twenty clients per day and three more antenatal staff, one for counselling, one for conducting, and one for registeration and drug adminstration as against the only one antenatal Staff currently operating at the hospital.

Furthermore, with a standard of 91meters apart, about seven poles are needed to connect the hospital to power supply from the township. While an average borehole drilling at the cost of NGN600,000 will urgently be required for water supply at the clinic.

Local and state authorities should come together to maintain and re-equip the Center befittingly. This is essential in order to facilitate delivery of timely and efficient services to healthcare users and prevent casualties.

Arewa Agenda is a Publication of young writers from Northern Nigeria towards peaceful coexistence and national development through positive narratives.

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