Tunga Nasara PHC still shut 18 months af­ter com­ple­tion

Daily Trust - - BUSINESS - By Taiwo Adeniyi, Olayemi JohnMen­sah & Ma­likatu Mukaila

The pri­mary health­care cen­tre in Tunga Nasara is yet to be put into use over a year and half af­ter its com­ple­tion as res­i­dents travel over a great dis­tance in search of health care.

Aso Chronicle had re­ported in April 2016 that sev­eral months af­ter the mul­ti­mil­lion naira pri­mary health­care cen­tre was built and equipped, it was yet to be put to use, and the sit­u­a­tion has not changed since then.

Res­i­dents either visit drug stores or go to dis­tant com­mu­ni­ties for health­care ser­vices

The multi-mil­lion naira pro­ject, con­sists of PHC cen­tre, staff quar­ters, bore­hole and over­head tank.

The res­i­dents say they have only ben­e­fit­ted from a so­lar pow­ered wa­ter pro­ject.

A board erected out­side the cen­tre showed that The Sub­sidy Rein­vest­ment and Em­pow­er­ment Pro­gramme (FCT SURE-P) was the client for the pro­ject while Satel­lite Towns De­vel­op­ment Depart­ment was the su­per­vis­ing agency.

When Aso Chronicle placed a call to West­field Global Con­struc­tion Lim­ited, the con­trac­tor that han­dled the pro­ject, a per­son iden­ti­fied by True Caller as Kehinde Alass, said the pro­ject had been handed over to the Satel­lite Towns De­vel­op­ment Depart­ment.

The Di­rec­tor, STDD Vic­to­ria Imade said the pro­ject was not aban­doned but was 95 per cent com­pleted when it was handed over on July 10. She said the ad­min­is­tra­tion was work­ing with the col­lab­o­ra­tion of the Pri­mary Health­care Man­age­ment Board on staffing.

She said the pro­ject was awarded at about N112 mil­lion and that the de­lay in its open­ing was be­cause the depart­ment wanted to en­sure that the right equip­ment was in­stalled.

“It’s not aban­doned, we had is­sue with equip­ment and it has been re­solved. We are now at the process of staffing,” she said.

Aso Chronicle re­ports that some fa­cil­i­ties al­ready in­stalled in the cen­tre in­cluded wheel chairs, mat­tresses, weight and height scales, and a 10.5kva gen­er­a­tor. The cen­tre had re­mained shut even af­ter the Fed­eral Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory (FCT) min­is­ter, Muham­mad Musa Bello, di­rected in Jan­uary 2016 that all pri­mary health­care cen­tres must be com­pleted and im­me­di­ately opened to res­i­dents.

The res­i­dents ex­pressed fear the cen­tre might suf­fer sim­i­lar fate as Zuba Cot­tage Hospi­tal which was com­pleted but aban­doned for more than four years. It was not opened un­til one year af­ter the min­is­te­rial di­rec­tive.

The res­i­dents’ re­lief when the con­struc­tion of the PHC started has since waned while some have be­come scep­ti­cal about the re­solve of the gov­ern­ment to pro­vide them with a pri­mary health­care cen­tre.

More than three com­mu­ni­ties would have ben­e­fit­ted from the cen­tre had it been com­mis­sioned and put to use.

Tunga Nasara com­mu­nity head, Musa Baba Bina, said it was dis­heart­en­ing that de­spite the con­struc­tion and equip­ping of the health­care cen­tre, the num­ber of peo­ple that die due to their in­abil­ity to ac­cess qual­ity health­care kept ris­ing.

Res­i­dents said they still pa­tro­n­ised drug hawk­ers and un­qual­i­fied phar­ma­cists that di­ag­nosed and pre­scribed drugs for all ail­ments. Oth­ers said when they were sick, they vis­ited health­care cen­tres in dis­tant com­mu­ni­ties while the multi-mil­lion naira pro­ject in their com­mu­nity rots away.

Musa Baba Bina said more than three women had died due to com­pli­ca­tions from child birth. He said the cases of deaths didn’t seem to end as long as the health­care cen­tre re­mained closed as ex­pec­tant moth­ers would con­tinue to be con­veyed on mo­tor­cy­cles over dif­fi­cult ter­rains to dis­tant health­care cen­tres.

One of the res­i­dents that lost a rel­a­tive, Musa Ya­mau, said he had not re­cov­ered from his loss. He said his rel­a­tive died from com­pli­ca­tions dur­ing child birth be­fore she could be taken to the health­care cen­tre in Tunga Maje.

Ya­mau said ex­pec­tant moth­ers and other sick peo­ple were taken to Zuba or Suleja even at night. He said such trips come at a great cost at night or dur­ing the wet sea­son due to the de­plorable con­di­tion of the roads.

He said the res­i­dents are not happy about the sit­u­a­tion, es­pe­cially when there is a health­care cen­tre com­pleted but is yet to be com­mis­sioned in the com­mu­nity.

The peo­ple ex­pressed dis­sat­is­fac­tion over the sit­u­a­tion. An­other res­i­dent, Yunusa Shuaibu, ex­pressed fear that the equip­ment at the cen­tre might be un­us­able if the gov­ern­ment failed to open the cen­tre for use soon­est.

Shuaibu also said that the peo­ple of the com­mu­nity would not stop call­ing on the gov­ern­ment un­til the cen­tre was opened, adding that rise in death rate loomed in the com­mu­nity if the cen­tre was not opened. He also ex­pressed fears that the com­mu­nity may be­come in­ac­ces­si­ble when the Col­lege of Ed­u­ca­tion, Zuba re­lo­cates its per­ma­nent site.

Shuaibu said the com­mu­nity and four oth­ers would be cut off by the ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tion though they are work­ing on cre­at­ing an al­ter­na­tive route. He said if they are cut off, they would have no other road through which to reach other com­mu­ni­ties to meet their other needs in­clud­ing health­care.

The com­mu­nity head, Musa Baba Bina, listed the com­mu­ni­ties to be af­fected to in­clude Tunga Ashere, Tunga Madaki, Un­guwar Kwaso and Tunga Wak­ili which he said could be­come in­ac­ces­si­ble when the school re­lo­cates.

He said their con­certed ef­fort to rem­e­dy­ing the sit­u­a­tion has been fu­tile.

“The road is the only ac­cess road to these com­mu­ni­ties and pre­vi­ous AMAC ad­min­is­tra­tions have failed in se­cur­ing an­other route for us and we learnt that the school will soon fence off their land,” he said.

While ex­press­ing this fear, the peo­ple are how­ever hope­ful that they would be con­nected to the on­go­ing elec­tric­ity pro­ject in neigh­bour­ing com­mu­ni­ties.

They said though the elec­tric­ity pro­ject has also been aban­doned for about five months and some erected poles al­ready fall­ing with ca­bles on the road, all hope was not lost.

“The poles have been fall­ing es­pe­cially in Tunga Madaki but we are still hope­ful that the pro­ject will con­tinue af­ter the wet sea­son,” Yunusa Shuaibu said.

Photo Taiwo Adeniyi

Tunga Nasara Pri­mary Health­care Cen­tre com­pleted but yet to be com­mis­sioned

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