Gombe: $1m China, UNICEF health intervention improving lives of women, children
By Auwal Ahmad
Beneficiaries of services at the Primary Health Care Centres in some rural communities of Dukkul and Malleri in Kwami Local Government Area of Gombe State have commended the $1m grant from China in collaboration with UNICEF to improve the health of women and children.
The project is aimed at improving the health status of women and children through the revitalization of the Primary Health Care delivery system by improving the functionality of PHC services delivery health facilities, outreaches and community-based services in ten wards of the Local Government which includes Dukkul and Malleri.
Managers of these facilities in an interview with newsmen said the project has resulted in an increase in the number of persons who visit health facilities in these communities especially antenatal and children services.
Ruth Musa, the assistant facility manager at the Dukkul Primary Health Centre said before the intervention, they received barely 100 clients in a month, especially women on ANC.
She explained that with the upgrading of facilities and improved services at the centre, they now receive no fewer than 500 women in a month.
According to her, even though work was still ongoing, the intervention has resulted in an impressive outcome in the community.
“We had very serious challenges of water provision, but we now have water in abundance. We have enough drugs especially at the ANC section, that is, routine drugs, testing instruments are now available. It has made the women to be interested in coming for ANC and delivery is improving”.
She added that “those facility workers that attended the training some months earlier, we have experienced a lot of improvement in the activities of women and children”.
She stated however that, ” we are appealing to the Government for more beds. There are only six beds in the facility and they are all in the female ward while the male ward is empty. We don’t have laboratory and people come from neighbouring communities of Funakaye and Yamaltu/Deba LGA’s.
Aisha Mohammed who brought her child to the facility during our correspondent’s visit told reporters that the workers are trying. According to her, “there is great improvement in drugs and services compared to what was obtained in the past”.
However, in Malleri PHC, a staff, Mohammed Adamu who spoke on behalf of the facility manager said the staff and the entire community commend the programme but noted that manpower is still a challenge following the increasing number of patients that visit the facility now.
According to him, “in the past, four staff on a shift could handle the patients that visit since they are not more than twenty in a day. But the staff strength is just about six and the facility requires more hands to handle over 40 that visits on a daily bases. The staff comprises Junior Community Health Workers (JCHEWs), Community Health Workers (CHEWs), environmental and a midwife”.
He stated also that sometimes drug supply to the facility ceases but that whenever they complain, the supply is usually returned when there is availability in the LG store.
“When we complain, they tell us to wait until they get supply too. The drugs are mostly malaria drugs and folic acid which we currently have, thus, resulting in the influx of patients”.
The $1m China fund is being implemented in Gombe State in only Kwami LGA and it is hoped that there will be great reduction of maternal, newborn and child mortality and morbidity in Gombe State.