According to the World Health Organization, WHO, Primary Health is the first level of contact for individuals, families and communities and enables healthcare to be delivered as close as possible to where people live and work.
However, the condition of many of the Primary Health facilities leaves much to be desired as they are dilapidated, poorly equipped and workers accused of not being committed to duty.
As conceived, Primary Health Centre is supposed to be the first port of call treatment of minor illnesses.
This is why in Enugu State, Health Centres or Health posts exist in almost every community.
But how does these primary health facilities function, especially those in rural communities.
Radio Nigeria toured some of the facilities. One of them is Comprehensive Health Centre, Amalla Orba in Udenu Local Government Area.
It was observed that the Health Centre established in 1976 was not only dirty and old but looked like a ghost house with leaking roof, obsolete beddings and medical equipment, no public power and water supply, no functional toilet facility, dilapidated staff quarters and bushy environment.
Though the heath centre lacked a doctor and Lab Technician, the Community members were not satisfied with the attitude to work by five nurses deployed there.
The President of Amalla Orba Youths, Mr. Godfrey Onah said the obsolete state of the health facility and the poor attitude of the workers, especially the immediate past Officer-in-charge, had negative impact on the health needs of the people.
Meanwhile, the new Officer-in-charge of Comprehensive Health Centre, Amalla Orba, Mrs Josephine Ngwoke said she had intensified efforts to restore the confidence of the villagers in the service delivery at the facility.
Mrs Ngwoke however, complained that poor payment of basic allowances was a disincentive to the health workers.
Efforts by Radio Nigeria to get the reaction of the Chairman, Udenu Local Government, Mr. Frank Ugwu on the issues raised earlier failed as he was not in the office when visited and he neither picked our calls nor responded to text messages.
It was a similar uninspiring story at Comprehensive Health Centre Mpu, Anirnri Local Government Area.
Though the facility was large enough with staff quarters, lack of maintenance had left the buildings with cracks on the walls, no light, bushes all around it and bedding with cobwebs, an indication they had not been put to use for some time.
Also, a modern Ambulance in the compound had been left to rot away with deflected tyres and its white paint dented with black patches.
The Centre had no doctor, trained nurse and Lab technician but had four permanent and four volunteer community extension workers,
As at ten O’clock in the morning when Radio Nigeria visited, only a female volunteer worker was on duty with no patient in sight.
The Health worker pleaded anonymity as she spoke alongside a resident of the community, Mr Godwin Nwonye on the lackluster attitude of her colleagues and poor patronage of the facility.
However, another Health Centre in Mpu, though small in size, had more committed staff as expressed by a patient met at the facility, Mrs Mercy Daniels.
But a volunteer worker there, Mrs Scholastica Obaji bemoaned poor equipment and work environment at the facility.
Attempts to get the reaction of the Chairman of Aninri Local Government Area, Mr Ezekeil Chukwu on the observations in the Health Centres were not successful as he was not in office when visited, neither did he honour an appointment he booked with Radio Nigeria when we met at his private office in Enugu.
But there is hope rising as the Executive Secretary, Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr George Ugwu said Government had commenced a process of revitalizing the Primary Health System.
Dr Ugwu also enjoined communities to show interest in the activities at Health Centres in the areas.
We will bring you situation of things in some other rural health centres in our subsequent report.