They made the observation while speaking with Radio Nigeria correspondent who was on a fact finding visit to some of the centres.
Health care system in Nigeria is divided into three categories; the primary, secondary and tertiary.
The tertiary health institutions are operated by the federal government, they are teaching hospitals and federal medical centres, state governments run the secondary tier which is referred to as general hospitals, while the primary tier is operated by the local governments. The primary health care, the closest to the people, has a wider coverage and operates mostly in rural communities and some urban centres.
It aims at improving the health status of patients at the grassroots, through diagnosis and treatment of common diseases, as well as other services such as counseling and referrals.
A consultant in public health at the university of Nigeria Teaching hospital, Enugu , Dr. Elias Aniwada speaks further on the importance of primary healthcare centres.
“The major components of primary healthcare include: immunization of major communicable diseases, we have health education component, where we educate people on the prevention and control of diseases, how to manage common endemic and illnesses, prevention and control of endemic and epidemic diseases, another thing is its closer to the people”.
But what is the condition of health centres in Enugu state?
When Radio Nigeria visited some primary health centres, it was discovered that they were not functioning as expected.
For instance, at Nchatancha Nike health centre, Enugu East Local Government, although there was a sign of life in the uncompleted building housing the facility, there was nothing to reflect its status apart from a signpost and a nurse attending to some patients.
A woman who pleaded anonymity regretted the sorry state of the centre and called on government to intervene urgently.
“It’s just this one room we are managing for now but it has not been equipped and people has started coming for delivery, no enough place to accommodate them”.
When Radio Nigeria got to Umuchigbo, Iji Nike health centre, the story was almost the same.
Apart from the absence of medical doctors to attend to the patients, there was also limited facilities to work with, while only nurses were seen taking care of immunization.
‘’ if you come, they will attend to you, they don’t waste time here. We need more facilities and also we don’t have doctors.’’
‘’Their service is quite okay, they are trying”.
Another woman at Abakpa Nike Health Care Centre who does not want her name to be mentioned has this to say.
“We are short staffed, we don’t have a security here, is just God that is helping us, we don’t have cleaners, we use to have pipe borne water but for some time now, we have challenges with the water and electricity”.
However, the story was different at the Uwani Health Centre where doctors and nurses were seen attending to patients.
They declined to speak with Radio Nigeria on the state of affairs at the centre, demanding a letter of authorization from the Ministry of Health.Some women who came for ante-natal, post-natal and immunization of their babies expressed satisfaction with efficient service delivery at the centre.
“Onyinye Ebue, they’ve improved grately, everything is now upto standard, they teach everything you’re supposed to know about your child, Okafor Obioma, it’s okei, they have all the drugs, Nwabueze Amarachi, they give us attention unlike other places I’ve been to”.
A cross section of respondents called on government to look into the issues of accommodation, provision of necessary equipment and recruitment of relevant personnel for improved healthcare service.
“They need more structures like where people will sit, they should help us with light and also we need security to help us’’.
‘’Am sure that our service will be more qualitative, there should be a doctor to also take care of other treatment for the children”.
Several visits to the Enugu state Ministry of Health to get the comment of the commissioner, Dr. Samuel Ngwu on the issues raised did not yield fruitful result nor did he reply to a text message sent to his mobile phone.
BY CHIDINMA UJOH