Tunga Nasara PHC still shut 18 months after completion
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.
Tunga Nasara Primary Healthcare Centre completed but yet to be commissioned