Reporter : UCHE NDEKE

During the lock down occasioned by the novel COVID-19 pandemic, governments in some parts of the world embarked on renovation and resuscitation of various health facilities in order to meet up with the healthcare needs of the people.

In Nigeria, State Governments, including Anambra State, also made broadcasts with promises to upgrade the health facilities, especially those in the rural areas to cater for the needs of the people during and after the pandemic.

Sadly, the story is not the same at the General Hospital Amanuke, in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State, which is still in a deplorable condition.

Radio Nigeria Correspondent, who visited the facility, reports that pregnant women in the area have resorted to visiting traditional birth attendants as there are no beds and modern equipment at the hospital.

Amanuke General Hospital was built by communal effort in the early 70s to meet the health needs of Amanuke people before the State Government took over and expanded it to cover the ten communities that make up Awka North Local Government Area.

Despite the proximity of the local government to the state capital, the people of the area say they have been marginalised by successive administrations in terms of infrastructural development, especially in the area of health.

A visit to the General Hospital Amanuke reveals a facility in dire need of upgrade, if the people of the area must enjoy quality health and boost the possibility of attaining the universal health coverage.

The hospital is also challenged by poor road infrastructure.

The two storey building is more of a home to rodents, lizards and wall geckos than serving the health needs of humans.

The matron in charge of hospital, Mrs. Roseline Dilinyelu, who unlocked the entrance gate of the facility at about ten o’clock in the morning, told Radio Nigeria that they played host to about seven patients in three months due to the deplorable condition of the facility.

Mrs. Dilinyelu also revealed that most pregnant women in the area, who could not afford the exorbitant cost of patronizing private clinics, had resorted to traditional birth attendants, which sometimes resulted in complications and even death.

It’s not proper for the women to be patronising quacks but if the government fails to do what they should do, you don’t blame the people. They can’t even refer because they know that this place don’t conduct delivery. Its shameful that a general hospital does not conduct delivery,” she cried out.

The wards, doctors and nurses apartments as well as other structures constructed within the hospital were all locked but a peep through the windows showed that reptiles, birds and wall geckos had occupied the structures and built their nests on the walls.

The perimeter fence at the back end had fallen a long time ago thereby exposing the facility to danger of attack and robbery.

A community leader in Amanuke, Chief Shedrack Anakwue told Radio Nigeria that the security men employed by the community had stopped coming to work over accumulated arrears of salary.

He expressed displeasure with the insensitivity of the government to their plight, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief Anakwue noted with regret that despite the contributions of the ten communities to the political growth and development of the state, successive governments were yet to recognize Awka North Local Government Area as part of the capital territory of Anambra State.

A farmer, Mr. Nwankwo Aro, and another resident, Mr. Eugene Nwafor, while lamenting the hardship they they often went through in search of healthcare services, observed that politics of personal interest contributed to the sorry state of the facility.

Two women, Mrs. Reagina Obukie and Mrs. Grace Okafor decried the lack of maternity ward, beddings and medical doctors in the facility which had been designated a general hospital.

They said the situation was instrumental to the practice of pregnant women running to local clinics where they often returned as victims of quackery.

The people appealed to the government to make good its promise to upgrade and equip the general hospital to serve the purpose for which it was established.